This is the letter I wrote to the parents of my college teammates after our season-ending game in 1999. For our senior class, it meant the end of our college careers, it meant failing to win a national championship, it meant saying goodbye to a life where fans showed up to cheer, where you fought for your team, your pride, your community and all those who came before you to do the same for the things that mattered to them.
It mattered to us. It mattered to me.
Isn't it just the best when something matters to you? And isn't it just the scariest, too? What a devastating - and glorious - concept.
I think I thanked the parents so formally as an attempt to pay homage to the power source of my incredible teammates. They are marvelous women who still challenge and support me, committed individuals who show up in my corner.
What I realized most through reading this letter I wrote 20 years ago is how willing I was to admit how much the loss and the ending hurt me. That feels very different from how I am now. I've tried to keep pain, betrayal, loss, ending and change a world away from my personal experience by not acknowledging it and definitely by not accepting it.
But, it reached/reaches me. And, it hurts.
This letter expresses an open-wound vulnerability, which feels so foreign to my own current instincts or capacity. How brave for her to disclose her pain in broad daylight like this where everyone will be able to see it.
That is the kind of brave I want to be. Again.
Love you all,
To all the Tiger Parents:
What I realized is that losing sucks. Bottom line. End of story. Everything comes to an end, I know. Everything. But for every dark, darker, darkest side, there is always something bright, right? We learned something. We felt something. We were something.
What I realized at Princeton is that you can be a big fish in a big pond. Of course, I learned how to talk and I learned how to write. But, what Princeton gives its students is more than that, it is opportunity. We are smart kids, most of us are exceptional students, and for whatever its worth, we got that from you.
What I realized at Princeton through playing lacrosse was how to give everything I have and everything I am to a game, a program, a girl who wants to learn. I was the captain. I was the star. I was supposed to lead by example. And hopefully I did. I was on a team. Something bigger than myself and sometimes bigger than the whole world. Lacrosse was life to me. That ended on Saturday. Since then, it has been my teammates - your daughters - here for me. And that means more than any goal I ever scored and any game we ever won.
What I realized at Princeton through playing lacrosse with your daughters was that inspiration comes in so many packages. You created heroes. You created marvelous women with whom I shared the best of times, the worst of times, and the last of my times. You created individuals who are my heroes. They are my teachers and have helped me become me.
it still hurts. And it will continue to do so until time does her magic. I don't know what I am most upset about - that it is over for me or that it is over for my parents. They graduate with me.
As the bruises on my skin fade away from opposing defenders, and the ones to my heart still throb, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all. Thank you so much for supporting our team, For honoring our hard work, for feeling our pain, for giving all of this to us. Everyone knows, Princeton Women's Lacrosse holds the best tailgates around. That is one tradition I know won't change. Thank you.
To all my Tiger parents over the years: You are my giants.
I'll miss everything so much.
Orange. Black. Pride.
Princeton Lacrosse 1999