Hard Work Pays Off
HARD WORK PAYS OFF
Thinking back to my days as a high school lacrosse player, I remember a boy that was an absolute lacrosse junkie. I couldn’t get enough – extra coaching when available, extra time on the wall, shooting, and playing catch with my father while he used a baseball glove. Lacrosse was and will always be like air to me – I need it in my life! This sport has always been my happy place. When I reflect back to my teen years, I realize that the majority of the work that I put in was on my own: scooping ground balls in the yard, playing wall ball at the local elementary school and going on long runs around my neighborhood.
My father was a journeyman pipefitter in the trades before he retired and also an incredibly talented welder. One day he came home from work with a lacrosse goal for the backyard that he had welded himself! It weighed about 100 lbs and was made of solid steel, but it was perfect. In high school, when I wasn’t cutting down trees with my dad for his other business I worked at a sports and entertainment center in Cleveland. When they were putting up new batting cage netting, I climbed into the dumpster and pulled the old nets out, took it home and sewed it all together to create a safety net behind my goal. My dad and I ran a wire between two trees in the backyard and we hung the used netting from the wire with shower hooks so it could slide back and forth when I wasn’t shooting. I don’t think I actually ever slid that backstop netting over to put it away because I would shoot every single day in that backyard. I missed so many dinners and can still hear my mom yelling at me to come inside, but there was no way I was going to miss a few extra minutes of daylight to improve my shot. When I wasn’t in the backyard shooting, I was running around the front yard picking up hundreds of groundballs – over and over again. When I look back, I do not have a lot of help – not a ton of coaching and YouTube didn’t exist. I was just a young kid hungry to get better every day.
These things served me well over my lacrosse career. While at Ohio State, I lead the team in groundballs for 4 years straight years and currently sit second in career groundballs in program history. In 2008, I set what was then the world record for the fastest shot at 109 MPH. These accomplishments can be traced back to the days spent in Cleveland as a kid running around his yard playing the sport I love. Remember that regardless of what’s happening around you, even if you are quarantined, you can find ways to improve if you have the desire. If you want something in this life, then go and get it an know that you might have to sweat a little for it, but in the end it will be worth it. I hope you look at this time as a chance to become the best player and person that you can be!