JULY MOTIVATION OF THE MONTH
A FIELD HOCKEY PLAYER'S JOURNEY FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE
By Jamie Tieman
I never thought when I complained and complained about school and all the rules, that when the time came to leave, I would have this empty void inside. People often told me, "Oh you'll miss this place when you get out," and at the time, I shrugged them off.
But as the end of senior year neared, I was quite anxious to get out of there. But wouldn't we all be? Everyone looks forward to a break. But little did I realize that this "break" was permanent and come next September, I won't be roaming the same old hallways and playing on the same old torn-up fields.
I miss the faces of friends congregating at lockers, I miss the "hellos" from underclassmen friends and senior buddies, and most of all, I miss the teachers, and just plainly the surroundings. Yeah, I was human and I cried at graduation, but that whole "ending" feeling never really hit me. Today, though, today it did.
As I was meandering underneath my bed for my stopwatch -- which is still missing in action -- I came across my memory boxes from school. And as curious as I am, I just had to open them up and leaf through my collection from these past four years. I pulled out old notes that were passed in hallways, old pictures taken of a field hockey team that was at times a second family, and Christmas and birthday cards, sent from friends that I would have never have come across, had it not been for my times at school.
And then the memories -- oh God, the memories! -- they haunt me like a ghost. They help at times, but at times, they hurt. Those good times, those funny times, I can't return to them. That's the problem: all I can do is remember. But sometimes remembering just isn't enough.
Maybe it's the fear of the unknown that is stirring up all these emotions, maybe it's just looking around, at smiles and at faces of friends, that I know I am afraid to leave. Maybe it's that fear, that unknowing feeling, that leads me to want only to return to the place that I first learned how to dare, how to dream and how to love.
The ending has ceased though, but that new beginning still awaits me. That door, still yet to be opened, flashes through my mind. At times, I cringe with excitment, and at other times, tears sting the back of my eyes and I know I'm not strong enough. Even with a strong inner faith, I can't conquer the fear. Even running can't take my mind off of it.
Every day I arise, knowing we're getting one day closer. And maybe once I'm settled, once I've broken my new environment in, I'll be just fine. And I'll laugh at my craziness of wanting to cling to the past, a past of which I said all too often I wanted to forget. But I take one look back and I can't do it. I can't bring myself to realize that it's all said and done. No more. No returning.
And everytime I look at my former coach, who has become so much more than a coach since the day she stepped away from the sidelines two years ago, I am convinced that there's no way I can leave her or forget her. I stood there tonight as she stopped me, when I was out running, but yet there's nothing to talk about. And as I ran onward and upward, I wondered if this was the way it was gonna be. Maybe being apart will strenghten our relationship, but maybe it will tear me apart before it strengthens us.
Now I wish only to return, to where there were guarantees, and I wouldn't have to be alone. But now I'm alone and there's no one. No familiar face to convince me anymore and maybe that's why I am scared. Maybe this was all a dream, but somewhere I know I can conquer this. But for now, I wish only to return to yesterday.
(Jamie Tieman, who graduated from Haddonfield Paul VI (N.J.) on June 6, 1999, would attend Elizabethtown (Pa.) College that fall.)