As October nears its end, and November approaches, I begin to wonder if November will mistake itself for January, as October mistook itself for December. For the past four years I’ve played field hockey here at Castleton, and I think that this past season had perhaps some of the coldest, most uncomfortable days yet.
Time and time again my fellow teammates and I would wear layer after layer, and still we would find ourselves running around a 100-yard field, playing a game that we love.
Some donned pink fuzzy hats, others zebra print ear warmers. Some wore gloves specifically designed to absorb the shock from hitting the ball in cold weather, while others wore mittens. Not exactly easy to maneuver a field hockey stick in mittens, but they made it work.
Of course, this season also happened to be the inaugural season of our brand new artificial turf stadium, which meant we played a lot of night games.
The temperature only gets colder at night.
So on a given Tuesday or Wednesday night, at say either 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. the Lady Spartans would storm the field, decked out in cleats, shin guards, sparkles, braids and a boatload of under armor, ready and willing to represent Castleton State College.
We braved the wind-chill, the torrential downpours and the brisk, sharp fall air that pierced our lungs and stung our eyes.
Day after day we would follow that routine, and occasionally we would have a nice day when a warm breeze would flow over us and remind us of the lost days of summer.
We now laugh and reminisce of those preseason days, and every once in a while it will hit me like a brick wall.
I’m done. Collegiate athletics are over.
But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I feel quite grateful. I’ve met my best friends through playing this game, and teammates turn into sisters.
When you’re with a group of people every day, you grow close.
You laugh together; you cry together, you work hard together. For the past four years those girls and coaches have become a second family to me, and to have experienced something like that, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.