Ed. Note: The author is a guest writer for The Lasso and a senior captain of the varsity field hockey team at George Mason High School.
Every field hockey game, one varsity player is tasked with coming up with a “word of the day.” However trite this concept may seem, it’s integral to our performance. We come up with words like “soar,” “passion,” and “endurance.” We share this at the same time as we share our personal goals for the game.
These rituals set the tone for our attitudes. We create an ambiance of habitual positivity that is representative to the contributions of our players to the Mason community. When we focus on being passionate or enduring, we put our all into our goals, which we call our secret weapon. All over the field we hear each other calling out, “Secret weapon! Secret weapon!” reminding us to focus on that goal.
If I had to pick a secret weapon of the field hockey team this season as a whole, I would pick attitude. When August 1 came around this year, Mason’s few returning varsity field hockey players shared their anxieties about the coming season as they lined up for their first run. After losing 13 players from last season’s team, it seemed as if jitters were natural.
The team this year is composed of a small roster holding only 16 players, 7 of whom have never played on the varsity team. Despite the lack of experience, the varsity field hockey team is not lacking positivity and heart. Coach Amanda Crider soon swept our hesitancy and low expectations out of our minds.
Anyone who knows Coach Crider knows how excessively positive she is. Her twitter bio reads “obnoxiously positive.” And you know what? It’s true. But it works. Our doubts were soon erased as we received a extra peppy pep talk from our coach. Despite our reluctance to reflect her obnoxious positivity in our own behavior, she had planted the seed within us.
In our first two scrimmages against the neighboring Yorktown and Falls Church high schools, we brushed the dust off and became accustomed to playing with each other. After a 2-0 win against Patriot High School, we departed on our tournament to Virginia Beach, dancing and singing and enjoying each other’s company, relishing the positive and inclusive environment. We were acclimated to our teammates, and beat both Hampton and Bayside High Schools in the sweaty heat. We got to spend time at the beach and have fun in the sun until we returned. Then we got back to business.
In our next game, we beat Kettle Run by one in the last minute of overtime. After this hard-fought win against one of our best-matched competitors, a Kettle Run parent approached my mom. My mom is the announcer of the field hockey games and she was expecting a complaint of mispronunciation or error, but she received quite the opposite. The parent told my mom that Mason was Kettle Run’s favorite team to play. Taken aback, but not surprised my mom thanked her. Our opponent’s parent continued; she complimented the Mason team’s sportsmanship and positivity.
When the other team walked off the field after their over-time loss to us, the Kettle Run parent approached my mom again, this time with her daughter. Her daughter, after having been beaten by us, still complimented our game-play and attitudes on the field.
This is just a limited perspective on the effect of attitude on play, especially with regard to hockey. Our hard work and positive attitudes are fully responsible for our success as a team. The field hockey team just exudes dedication to the principle of “Mind, Body, Character” and is a testament to the success that is a product of MBC. You can’t argue with a 5-0 regular season record.