The Beginning

09Sep12

As I think about myself as a writer, I look back on the times in my life when writing happened.  I learned to write my name in kindergarten.  I wrote essays in high school honors English classes.  I wrote for the opinion page in my high school newspaper.  I wrote more essays in college.  I was always given a prompt or guidline to follow.  It wasn’t until spring break of freshman year of college when I felt the freedom of writing without restriction. 

Freshman year I played for Chapman Women’s Lacrosse.  It was my life.  I was devoted to it with heart, mind, body, and soul.  Lacrosse was a rollercoaster ride of emotional ups and downs for me, however.  I was a very passionate player, a perfectionist, and extremely competitive.  I would get frustrated easily or discouraged if I did not meet my own high expectations.  I was a troubled player.  

Despite my troubles, our team was very successful.  By the middle of season we had gone undefeated in all our games.  This was the weekend before spring break when we played a tournament in Santa Barbara that qualified us for finals.  Returning home from our wins, the team was happy and excited for what was yet to come.  I however, had a lot on my mind.   I went home that week replaying the tournament in my head, reliving the good and bad moments.  I thought deeply about my whole experience as Chapman lacrosse player.  It was spring break and I had all the time in the world to contemplate these things.

Finally, after much thinking I decided to write a letter to my team.  We had a closed group on facebook that had a place where you could type documents for everyone to see.  I sat myself down and began to write,

“I haven’t stopped thinking about our lacrosse team since the end of playoffs.  As some of you know, once I get started thinking, I don’t stop.  I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming too.  Some wild ideas have run through my mind, believe me.  Honestly I think I’ve done enough thinking for now.  I figure the only way to take a break is to sit down and write it all down.  Here are my thoughts.”

I poured my heart out into that letter, expressing everything that was on my troubled mind for everyone to see.  It was not brilliant, but it was the most honest thing I have ever written. I made confessions, reminisced about special moments with the team, and told my teammates stories about my past as a lacrosse player.   I ended it with this:

“Point is:  The positives from our team will ALWAYS out-weigh the negatives.  We are able to get by the negatives and grow from them.  I’m telling that to you because I need to make a record of it and remember it myself.”

I guess writing the letter was some kind of cathartic release for me.  It was the moment when I realized that writing could do that for you, that it could be your outlet for the powerful emotions you feel.  Writing to my teammates was nothing like writing essays in high school.  It was liberating.

My teammates really appreciated my letter, as they told me in comments on facebook.  We went on to win the national championship that season, and I won several awards to go with it. I like to think my mid-season letter had something to do with it.

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