Preseason, any athlete’s least favorite word. For some of us, this event happens three times a year. Basically, imagine your least favorite and hardest workout, and then picture doing that for two hours a day every practice. There is always the unspoken preseason that happens before preseason, where the team runs and conditions in preparation for the coach to condition you. Everyone should be in shape for preseason and tryouts.
As a freshman, I was terrified of preseason. I was new to the town and the seniors seemed so much older than me. They talked about college and graduation and Advanced Placement classes, and my mind was still in middle school. They also looked like athletes, I didn’t. As scared as I was, I was there to prove myself and make the team. I worked incredibly hard running my hardest, dribbling my fastest, saving as many shots as I could, showing the coach I had what it takes. I did that for 3 years, and after two concussions, had to reassess.
Now, a senior in high school, I went out for cross country. Where for me, every day is like preseason- I’m still waiting for it to get easier. As I progressed through high school the age difference didn’t matter, the freshmen aren’t so little and I don’t think I’m getting that much older. What happens is that preseason brings the team together. No longer are you an individual athlete trying to prove yourself to the coach and make the team, but you’re a family that supports each other and learns to work together.
For fall sports, athletes have worked all summer for their first game. They got up at 6:30 to run every morning, went to captains practices at night, spent weeks at camps trying to get better. And when “hell week” is over, all that work has paid off.
Over the summer and the preseason, athletes develop from individuals into a team. They learn to work together and rely on each other. One for all, all for one! My teammates helped me through preseason. Coming into a new sport they were supportive, and they were encouraging. I’m not yet a distance runner, but I’m getting there. The hard work I put in over the summer and the week of practice before school got me to where I am now.
Preseason, for me, is for making improvements. Sprinting in track and on the soccer field, I don’t think I had ever run over a mile. I worked at it, my team and my coach pushing me. I improve every day, and I become closer to my team.
Caroline Metcalf is a Senior student-athlete living in Greater Boston