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A long way from home



Major: Political Science
Hometown: Glenwood Springs, CO

Year: Senior

We were only two weeks away from spring break and I was already getting ready to be home for a week in my hometown of Glenwood Springs. Every year since I had arrived at Fort Lewis, the tradition was for me to return home for all of the breaks; I really treasured that time with my family since I was now living away from them for eight months.

Unlike many of my other friends, I had never considered any other alternative for spring break but that changed last year in March of 2013 when my roommate, Hana, offered an interesting proposition. She had been the manager for Fort Lewis College Men’s Club Lacrosse team for two years and they were looking for another person to help out on during their spring break games in southern California. I was quick to dismiss her proposal to join her on the trip; I couldn’t miss the opportunity to spend a week at home--after all, I would not be home for another two months for summer break, not to mention I didn’t know anyone on the team.

But Hana would not take no for an answer; she took me to a lacrosse meeting the next day to meet the coach and the players. They were all very welcoming and excited for me to accept the offer to help record the games and help take pictures. I decided to accept their offer to volunteer as a second manager; I was somewhat nervous not knowing much about lacrosse, but they all promised to help me and be patient in teaching me.

Two weeks later I began my journey with the team; our first stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a day of many firsts: first time I had been on the Northern Arizona University campus, my first lacrosse game, and my first official day as a manager. The game was fast paced and I had some trouble following the first couple of plays. Thankfully, Hana had not only done this many times before but she had also played in high school. She began to teach me the rules and a few things about taking stats for each player; I listened attentively while I took pictures, but little did I know I would be more helpful than that. One of the players had an injured hand and needed to have his hand taped. Since it was a club game during break there were no athletic trainers around and that’s when I stepped in to help. As a high school athlete I had enough experience to tape his hand and keep him in the game.

I truly began to feel part of the team after that first game and I began to take my responsibilities very seriously, making sure we had water bottles, tape, and other essentials before every game. I was truly impressed with the level of dedication and effort that all the guys on the team displayed; even though they were not a varsity sport, they worked equally hard as any other team on campus.

Marissa and Hana, with the FLC Lacrosse teamOur next stop was in Phoenix, and although the team was focused on bringing their best game to the field, they still made the time for team bonding. We spent an entire afternoon at an arcade playing mini golf and some very competitive games of air hockey. I was having so much fun, learning new things and making new friends, that I barely thought about being home sick. The team ended their spring break game tour in southern California; we stayed in San Clemente close to the beach and made a habit of taking night beach walks.

I also learned a new concept on this last part of the trip, something called “accountabilibuddy” which was term for a friend for whose well-being you were accountable for, something which was taken very seriously. The team played two games against Division I schools and even though they were not as successful as they would have liked, they were able to get great practice to face some of the toughest competition in their conference.

Six days after this journey begun, we left the warm sunny skies of California and headed back to Durango where we were greeted by a spring snow storm. I will always look back on this trip as one of the best experiences I have had; I feel very lucky to be part of the FLC Lacrosse team. Fort Lewis has really great opportunities to go on some amazing adventures and make great memories--you just have to be willing to try something new!

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