I started playing tennis my freshman year of high school because my mom told me I needed to be “more involved in my school.” Like everything else in my life, she was absolutely right. I fell in love with the sport. Once I graduated from Elk County Catholic, I knew being a tennis player was something I wanted to continue.
When I started looking at Lycoming, I realized I could do exactly that. However, what made me choose Lycoming over other schools (among other reasons) was that I wasn’t just going to be an athlete. No one was going to look at me and say, “Oh, she’s the tennis player.” My tennis coach explained to me during my college search that athletics at Lycoming College put academics before anything else. You are a student before you are an athlete, which meant I could still be the double major I wanted. But even more than that, I could be as involved as I wanted to be. I’m the president of CAB, I teach two dance classes, and I’m a tour guide. If I were to wear a nametag all day identifying who I am, I would need about seven. At Lycoming, you don't have to be one thing or do just one thing.
However, the summer before my freshman year of undergrad, I had no idea that the tennis team would soon become incredibly important to me. I have spent the past four years watching this team grow from having a losing record to a winning one. We made it to the semi-finals of the MAC Championship for the first time since 2010. But past all of that, I’ve come to meet some of the most amazing women. When you practice for hours a day, travel to match after match on a coach bus (or sometimes a tiny van), eat dinner every day after practice, and spend almost every Saturday together, you become something more than just teammates.
These girls are my family. They’ve seen me at my absolute worst as well as my best. They push me to not only become a better athlete, but a better person. They help me with my school work, remind me of places I have to be, jam out to some guilty pleasure music in the car, and make me laugh even after I’ve had the roughest of days. I’ve never felt so blessed.
When people ask me what I’m most thankful for about my education, I list many things, but something that always comes to the top of the list is my decision to join the tennis team. I can’t imagine my life, albeit crazy, without being a part of this team. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us as we move into the spring season.