I often get asked how I got into lacrosse, or better yet, how (and why!) did I become a goalie. The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, and often reminds me that the best thing about this sport is that you can pick it up at any age, time and time again.
Above you’ll see one of my favorite pictures of myself and my sister. We picked up our first (boys) stick in the 2nd grade, simply because we were tomboys and wanted to play with our friends. The earliest offering of girls lacrosse was in 7th grade, and I think both my sister and myself were ok with that. In typical youth league fashion, we were asked to play a myriad of positions, from attack to defense to goalie. I never got much joy out of scoring goals like my sister did, but I did take to playing defense. Midfield, well, that simply was too much running. So I often rotated between goalie and defense for those years leading up to 7th grade.
Once we were old enough, my sister joined the girls modified team, and I decided I didn’t want to play without being able to hit, so I joined the softball team (go figure). It wouldn’t be until my freshman year, when I picked a lacrosse stick back up again. There was an opening at the goalie position, and I was a catcher in softball, so the transition was easy. Side note- I decked two girls on the first day of practice so our coach thought it might be best for me not to play defense.
Next thing you know, I’d fallen back in love with the sport. Not so much that I didn’t spend my whole summer on a travel softball team, but enough that you could regularly find me out in the backyard with my sister, affectionately nicknamed “Twinnie,” having battle of first to ten (goals or saves). We spent countless hours out back, until it got dark or we lost enough balls (or broke a window). It was here that I learned to be a better goalie, and more importantly, to be fearless. I had no formal training, but Twinnie had a mean sidearm, and was unrelenting when it came to reminding me how many she had scored on me. There was no time to pout, only enough time to get even. I’m pretty sure my parents hated this game of ours, there was always one of us who lost, and neither of us took losing lightly. But I was hooked, and in goal I have stayed for the rest of my career.
Over the course of high school we began to take lacrosse more and more seriously, I spent all of one summer in the club scene (and not so highly recruited) but found my way to Syracuse University. It was here that I finally had some formal training, but that is a story for another day.
The only advice I can give you, is it’s never too late to start playing lacrosse, or being a goalie. Whether you pick it up in the 2nd grade or 9th grade, this sport has so much to offer.