The Learning Curve
By Dayshaun Clark
Picking up a new sport isn't easy and most definitely can be frustrating and unmotivating. It all started when my brother asked me if I wanted to go to lacrosse practice with him since I was free that weekend and had no plans. I said, “Sure why not, I might like it.” So we got ready and headed to 33school to catch the RTS bus to SOTA with a few friends. When we all got there I met the coach and he gave me the equipment needed to practice with everyone so I can get a feel of what it's like. I had my brother try to explain to me how to catch, throw, and how to cradle the stick.
After we got done conditioning, Coach London broke up everyone into different groups based on their skill level and since I was new I was with the other kids who didn't have too much experience. The drill was when he rolled the ball and two people would go and fight for the ground ball. The point of the drill was to box the other person out and to protect your stick. So when it became my turn I was going up with a bigger kids so I knew I can just use my speed and get by him but I was new to the sport so I struggled picking the ball up so when the other kids got to me he pushed me in the back with the stick (which is a flag) and made me mad because that wasn't the point of the drill and it wasn't needed so Coach London told me to run it back with the same kid and the same thing happened again but this time when he pushed me he got the ball so he won that rep (a rep is how many times you do the drill). I was heated for real this time and threw the stick and that's when Coach London walked over to me picked my stick up and put it in my chest and we had a little talk about putting that anger into laying someone out (laying someone out is running someone over and they fall on the ground). When it was my turn again I was with a random kid and to be honest I didn't go for the ball, I laid the kid out and then went for the ball and Coach London told me that was a great way to use the anger but try to go for the ball first instead of the person.
After that day I decided to keep playing to get better because I realized that I can really do this with enough time put into it so that's what I did. I used to go up to the field for 6 hours a day trying to get better with a few other people who had more experience than me. That moment changed me because I took every opportunity to better my craft, every time a coach reaches out to me to work out or visit a college, no matter how tired I am I do it anyway because you never know who’s watching and that can open different doors in life. When I'm mad or frustrated I just go outside and start shooting at a wall or net. Playing sports can change your whole work ethic and you see things differently and realize how many people are willing to help if they see you putting the effort in. All these things show how I can deal with different situations and to improve myself if I put the time into it and I know that these attributes will carry on with me to college.
12/23/2021 09:42:47 am
So many athletes or former athletes can relate to your article. Track and Cross Country were like this for me. My elementary PE teacher was to me like Coach London is to you. He encouraged me to start a new sport and it changed my life. I got confidence from it and found it to be a great release. Even as an adult, I apply life lessons from those days into my everyday life. I am happy for you that you have found something that you enjoy that serves so many purposes in your life. Coach London is great and I picture that first exchange he had with you during that drill.
12/23/2021 09:57:06 am
There are some great visuals in this piece, Dayshaun. I'm not really much for sports myself, but I can relate to that frustrated feeling of not learning something fast enough. I'm glad you (quite literally) pushed through! It's like you said: this kind of reflection will definitely help when things get hard in college and beyond.
12/23/2021 10:20:02 am
Perserverence pays off! Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. These are the life lessons of many coaches in my life. Keep strong!
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