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Things Can Only Get Better

Things Can Only Get Better

Oil on board, 18x18, Oak floater frame



I was one of the 50 seventh graders that went out for the lacrosse team.


All my friends were joining, so I thought, “I like sports, this shouldn’t be too hard.”


On the first day of practice, we met in the gym in the Annex building of the Radnor Middle School


We stretched for 20 minutes, then the coaches said, pick a stick from the supply room and meet us in the bus loop.


The stick was wooden and heavy, but I was still pretty jazzed and ready to try something new.


When we all made our way outside the coaches said we would head over to the field now to practice.  It was 1 mile away – Wait, What?!


“And do you feel scared…I do

But I won’t stop and falter

And if we threw it all…away

Things can only get better”


We all started jogging behind each other, carrying our sticks through the streets of Wayne.


We wove around Radnor library, crossed Conestoga Road, and made our way into a little neighborhood that revealed the field. 


When we arrived, most of us sat on the field, breathing heavy.


The coaches circled us up and told us that this is the drill.  We run a mile at the beginning of practice for conditioning.  We will spend the next hour doing drills, then field position for the first week.


I had never held a lacrosse ball before, let alone thrown one!


But we were all in this together, and I took comfort in being a rookie with the group.


I learned to keep my eye on the ball, squat low, and let my knuckles scrape the ground as I picked up each ball.


Like this bird, I just kept my head down and got in the zone.


The first week I was so sore, I could barely walk.


“And do you feel scared…I do

But I won’t stop and falter

And if we threw it all…away

Things can only get better”


My coach was Mr. Purdy.  He was the reading specialist and I had to take reading (again) that year.  I felt so embarrassed because none of my friends had to do it. They were having fun in French and Spanish class.


Having him as my coach and teacher actually turned out to be a good thing.


We would chat before class about practice the day before and if I felt like things were starting to “click”.


My stick skills were improving, and my runs felt effortless.  I started looking forward to after-school practice and reading class.


We were 2 weeks from the start of the season, and he told me he wanted me to be a start the first game at point.  It’s the last defender in front of the goal.


I thought, no problem.  I can do that.


All I had to do was defend the goal and get the ball to the midfielders on the sides of the field.


Something wonderful happened at the first game.


We were good!


Each game, he would post the starting line up on his door.  I couldn’t wait to see it.


He started me every game!  And we were undefeated that season.


He held a pizza party and fun slide show at the end of the season.


This teacher was able to make us believe in ourselves, and the team.


He saw something in us that we didn’t know existed.


I felt proud to wear my Radnor Middle School lacrosse shirt.


Looking back and remembering this highlight of Middle School makes me so happy.


I was living in my awkward 13-year-old body.  Trying not to stand out (I was the tallest girl, ugh!)


And this one teacher saw and believed in me.





Music reference: Things Can Only Get Better, Howard Jones

Photo credit: @alicia_birds

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