Munoz: Digesting a Stunning End to Stanford Career
The past week for me has been one of the most painful weeks in my life. Last week I had cleared my head completely (from the Denver loss in MPSF finals) and came to practice Tuesday with a smile on my face ready for the second chance we were given by receiving an at-large bid. However, I had no idea of the news that was waiting for me at practice.
Coach Amy Bokker brought sophomore goalie Katie Wiseman and I in before practice and said on Friday Katie will be starting because the coaches felt that she earned it after her play in the Denver game.
I was shocked. I had no words in that moment. How? How could this possibly be happening? My shock soon turned to anger. It was an anger that I unfortunately let consume me for a long time. I didn't want to be around anyone. I had started every single game for the past three years, and now I'm not? I may have had some bad games, but every single time I bounced back. Every time. And now in the most important game of the season, and possibly (and what ended up being) my last game of my career I wouldn't be starting? I just didn't get it.
My anger soon turned to extreme sadness. Is this what I have worked so hard for? Am I really that bad? Everything I had done prior to this happening made me feel like it was nothing; that I meant nothing. I have never felt anything like this before in my life. Lacrosse was my world; it was my one space where no matter what I was always confident in myself because it was my thing. I could always count on the fact that I was a great lacrosse player, and now I'm not? How did I go in as a freshman and get MVP of our conference tournament and help us win the MPSF tournament that year, and now at the end of my senior season I'm not starting?
While I would be lying if I said it still didn't sting, I had to try to accept this as hard as was. For whatever reason, Amy thought this was the best decision. Even if I didn't fully accept it, I had to try to act like I did for the team. I forced myself to put some smiles on my face when we were with the team, no matter how much pain I was in inside. So when it came to game day I warmed up per usual, and then I did the only thing I could. I cheered for my teammates, tried to observe to see how I could help the coaches, and at every timeout I went right up to Katie and we talked about what was going on.
Unfortunately that game ended up being the last game of my career, and I watched from the sidelines. However, I'm not letting that one game define me as a player or person. I know that I contributed a lot to this program. When I first came to Stanford I was made fun of because I liked lacrosse too much. They started calling me lyndslax as a joke because of my twitter handle.
Now everyone on this team makes lacrosse a priority, no question about it. Everyone is willing to come out and do extra work to get better, because doing well is important to all of us.
Like I have said before, we wake up everyday and choose how we're going to see the world.
Sitting here on our way back to Stanford, I can say that I'm still pretty happy. I know without a doubt in my mind that I gave everything I had to the sport and my teammates. I'm not going to let one game change the passion I hold for this amazing sport, or my later involvement in it. This team has been my favorite at Stanford, and I still believe that even though we may not have ended the season the way we wanted. Each and every person on this team has made this last year so special.
Even better is that we're not done playing together! This game isn't going to be my last lacrosse memory, because in about six weeks this amazing team will be playing again together in Hawaii and Japan.
I think that has been very helpful trying to move forward. What an incredible last way to enjoy this team and playing this sport together. Also, school isn't over either, so it's not like we're all going home and have to say goodbye. We still have so much time to spend together, and I can't wait to enjoy every second of that.
All of this comes truly secondary to what is the really amazing part. In about a month, I will be graduating from one of the best, if not the best university in the country. That is truly incredible, and at times I may have had my doubts about it. While the past four years have been a struggle at times, it has been the best part of my life.
Not only have I made lifelong friends, but also the ways in which I have changed since my freshman year are just unbelievable. My freshman year you couldn't catch me saying a word in class I was so intimidated, I had no idea where or how I was going to fit in in the sea of weirdness that is Stanford, and I couldn't write a college paper to save my life.
But in a couple years, all of that changed. I got more confident in my speaking and writing, and I learned weirdness is normal. I learned just because someone is different than you doesn't mean that they aren't amazing people. I also found out I'm pretty weird in my own right; I mean I do play goalie (but not all goalies are weird, we're cool people too!!). One game doesn't over take all of the memories I have made here on and off the field.
I'm so grateful for everyone that has helped me through the journey. There are just so many people to thank: my family, friends, teammates, coaches, professors, and everyone in between. I'm so happy my parents let me come to this wonderful school. Especially my mom, I know how hard it was for her having me so far after having her first child only two hours away. Also, in case you didn't know, I'm her favorite (she won't admit it but it's true :) ). Graduation will be her second time to Stanford, only making the trip once before during my freshman year to bring me out here.
While I still have absolutely no idea what I'll be doing next year, I'm not stressed about it too much I know I'll find something. For right now though, I think I will move home for the summer and try to find a job near D.C. and live there for a while in the hopes that one day I can afford to live near San Francisco. If you haven't been to SF you must, it is my favorite city!
I know this was a long one, but thanks for bearing with me. It has been an amazing experience being able to share my journey with you all and hopefully help some others along the way. Thanks for reading. Lyndsey