Strength is Not Always Obvious
There are an infinite number of words to be said about one person who can keep their dark secret hidden to allow those around them to achieve success. I began playing lacrosse in seventh grade, encouraged by my friends who were also going to play for the first time. We had two coaches. First, there was Mrs. Martin, the most energetic and funniest coach I will ever meet. Her coaching companion was the more laid back and organized Paula Evans. Mrs. Evans took over my practices every once in a while (she mainly coached the eighth graders), and I soon learned that she was the highly qualified and respected director of the Mass Elite and Achieve Lacrosse dynasty. She founded Mass Elite and Achieve Lacrosse to originally create one of the first club teams in Massachusetts with co-founder Leslie Frank. Mass Elite is the highly competitive and well recognized club team for eastern Massachusetts.
By the end of my seventh grade season, Mrs. Evans had asked me to fill in for a goalie on one of the Mass Elite seventh grade teams for a summer tournament. Every month or so she would either be asking me to play in a tournament or encouraging me to join as a permanent Mass Elite player. I did not officially join until the spring of eighth grader when I finally gained the confidence to play with the best players in the state. The coaches pushed me to my limit, and my teammates forced me to save their ridiculous shots. I never wanted to be the goalie that shied away from the ball, and I never was. Mass Elite strongly encouraged us to begin looking at colleges and speaking with coaches at the end of my freshmen year. The recruiting process was exciting, overwhelming, but Mrs. Evans and other coaches continuously told me to push through and stay optimistic.
The summer of 2012, I was shocked to hear the news that Mrs. Evans had passed away from breast cancer. The woman who spent the last 15 or so years of her life dedicated to the sport of lacrosse and never once showed signs of weakness. For that, she will forever be my source of inspiration. I plan to play lacrosse at a Division III school next year, and I credit her with all of my success. If she had never recruited me for Mass Elite, I would not have the skill or mentality that I do today. I will play my final season in the town of Scituate and continue my lacrosse career with Mrs. Evans in mind. The memory of her strength will forever motivate me in times of weakness, and I will carry the thought of her as my coach each and every day.