The page has turned onto a new year and for Lafayette Field Hockey, it’s 2018 that every player and recruit is now focused on. Improvement does not come with just hope, but with work that begins today…. or began yesterday. Our first year players now have one year under their belt, and the second and third year players have honed skills that need to be integrated into a new team construct. Two thousand seventeen is over, and there must be lessons learned and absorbed to apply to the coming season.
There should not be an obsession with lost games, but there should be reflection on what could have been done to change the outcome. There was progress made. There were more shots taken, more goals scored, and more corners earned last year. In the end, Field Hockey is a chaotic game but winning teams are able to rationalize the chaos through skill development, fitness, and mental preparation. In some cases we rose to the occasion, the Bucknell game comes to mind, and in fairness. there were several games we did not play our best.
I have seen our schedule for next year. There is not a team on that schedule we cannot beat. Yes, the chances of going undefeated are slim, but we should arrive on the field with the mental and physical preparation that will propel us to the playoffs. Every practice, conditioning session, and game review should have an expectation that Lafayette can prevail. Spring is a great time to experiment and prepare, the fall is the time to execute. (Spoiler alert….There will also be a chance to test our skills in late spring and early Summer against foreign competition!!!)
Hope….in a new era and with new leadership in our athletic department, there should be a feeling of optimistic expectations. The Leopards must arrive on the turf with confidence. Practice with every minute assuming it is as precious, as it is important. Practice should be like a mini-game….. win in practice, and win when in counts. In my conversations with the new AD I have stated that this team, of all the 23 teams at Lafayette, this team is the closest to winning a conference title.
I have hope, with an optimistic state of mind!! I hope we will make the extra pass, the follow up shots, and scrape the turf to make that tackle. I hope I will be able to say that our bench was engaged, standing on the sidelines ready to enter the game if needed. I want to beat Lehigh on our own turf. Three years of losing to Holy Cross must end!! It would be sweet to be on the winning side against American and Boston. Colgate was too close last year. While watching the National Football Championships last night, I wondered if freshmen Tua Tagovailoa knew he would be playing that second half in place of Jalen Hurts. Maybe it doesn’t matter. He was ready, and Hurts was on the sideline rooting his teammates on, as if he were still on the field. That’s how championships are created.
Hope and expectation can merge. I can’t wait to see our spring games to see if we have the inner strength and skill to match our physical assets.