Three Minutewomen Share Their Experiences Of UMass Lacrosse
June 1, 2006
Lindsay Cassell, Erica Shapiro, and Kathleen Typadis reflect on their careers at UMass, what the past season has meant to them, and what they think about life as University of Massachusetts students. Read below to get the true, perspective on what its like to be a part of the UMass Women's Lacrosse team.
I came in to UMass as a recruited "walk-on" in 2002 and had a great `fall-ball' season my freshman year but, of course, suffered an injury. It was a standard injury for me - throughout high school I had hamstring and quad issues - so pulling my quad and hamstring was nothing new. However, at the end of the fall season, my friends started to notice that I was not standing up straight. Then my back started to hurt and I had never been in so much pain in my life.
This made it not even possible for me to even sit without pain. Playing the sport I had loved for so long was not even an option. I watched every practice and every game from the sideline wishing I was playing!
After getting surgery in the summer of my freshman year it wasn't till the next spring that I was able to play again. Having to watch day in and day out developed me into a better and smarter player. The time on the sideline allowed me to mature as a player because I could see how things were working on the field and understand them. Being able to do that ultimately helps a person grow as a player.
After having a "freshman" year like that, I could only go up from there. My experiences at UMass were more than I thought I would have during college. Meeting so many kinds of people that are open to a lot of different things was certainly rewarding. It was nice to have my athlete friends, but when I needed time away, I had my other friends as well.
I love my team and being so close to them during my career made it such a better experience; it also made us better as a team. Every athlete has highs and lows, as well as teams, but getting through them is the true test and I think I passed that test as did our team.
I couldn't have asked for a better place to experience what I did throughout my five years here as a student and an athlete at UMass.
The word `student-athlete' makes it sound easy. Yes, I'm a student, and, yes, I'm an athlete, but somehow when you combine the two, things get a lot more complicated. One of the biggest parts of being a student-athlete is balance. Without balance, you may be able to pull off good grades or you may be able to make some great plays, but you'll never be able to do both well.
Balance is just one of the things that playing a college sport teaches you. Some others are time management, communication, teamwork, and leadership. But of all those things you learn as a student-athlete, the most important one to me is that sometimes, you just have to suck it up.
Let's be real. Try waking up at 6 a.m. every weekday to go to fall ball practice, or pushing yourself through conditioning when you feel sick, or playing through February practices when you can't feel your fingers, or watching your friends be able to go out when you can't. Sound crazy? It does to me, and I've been doing it for three years now. But somehow, after all that stuff, it's worth it.
How come? I love competing against some of the best teams in the country. I love getting to see places I would have never visited otherwise. I love playing college lacrosse. But most importantly, I love my teammates.
Of course, I don't wish for anyone to tear their ACL like I did this past season, but I wish that everyone had the chance to experience how much support my team gave me when I did. I went home that weekend after I got injured against Boston College very upset, and I got so many phone calls and text messages from my teammates saying they were thinking of me. Throughout my rehab they were always sure to ask my how it was going and never once did I feel disconnected from the team. People ask me how I can stay so positive after such an injury but the answer is simple: my teammates. They've become more than friends to me; they're part of my family.
All in all I've been very happy at UMass in both athletics and academics. Sounds cheesy, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.
As the spring winds down and our season has come to an end, I have had much time to reflect on the year. As a student-athlete I have understood the wonderful opportunities we receive and have learned to be grateful for the experience we get. The most significant thing I can say about this year in lacrosse is the importance of sticking together as a team.
When playing the top ranked teams like Dartmouth and BU, it's a great chance to rise up and compete at the highest level. You learn as a family to take the wins with the losses, always move forward and correct our mistakes. I am so proud to have ended the way we did this year by going to the A-10 tournament. It was special for the seniors and a great experience for us youngsters. It truly shows the hard work and belief in one another to push to the end like we did.
Being a student-athlete definitely has its perks, but you have to be sure to manage your time well. In season, especially this year, we were on the road a lot, so it's important to stay on top of your work. I try and do whatever I can to not bring work on trips; it tends to ruin the fun. I remember having 100 pages of reading to do on one trip and I felt like I missed out on everything! I definitely won't do that again. Bus rides, plane trips and eating out are guaranteed good times. They're just the thing for getting to know each other, playing jokes/music, "catch phrase," anything to annoy the bus driver. You never know what's going to happen on our trips with this team and that's the beauty. For me, the best part about being a student-athlete is that you can wear your entire Boyden Gym-issued sweat suit almost every day of the week without being looked at funny. People know who you are and accept the fact that you don't have the time to put on a pair of jeans or, heaven forbid, a nice sweater!
It would be hard for me to choose one memory that stands out the most with this team because we have a horde of entertainers. I wouldn't say it was fate that we all ended up at UMass because who wouldn't want to go to a school nicknamed the "Zoo?" You have to be a special breed to be here, but once you're in, you'll never want to leave. The friends I've made on this team are honestly the finest group of people and most fun. UMass offers a balance of great academics, big sports, awesome people and a supportive student-athletic staff. Being apart of a team has made my college experience unforgettable and its something I will never take for granted.