Senior Reflection from Field Hockey Player Valerie Landis

After playing field hockey for 8 years, I decided to continue my athletic career by following in my sister’s footsteps at EMU.  I knew if I attend EMU, I would get a significant amount of playing time because of the small roster.  But what I didn’t know is that I would gain experiences and lessons that I could incorporate into my life after college.

While playing hockey with such a small team, I realized the importance of being a unit.  Soon I learned that it was critical to utilize a small passing game to save energy and play as a team.  In practice and in games it was important to give one hundred percent to push and challenge others as well as yourself.  We needed to utilize the talents and gifts of each player in order to connect as a team and be successful.

During my college athletic career, I was the only player representing my class.  Initially I did not take any leadership role because I felt it wasn’t my responsibility as an underclassman and that one had to ‘work their way up’ to achieve those positions.  After taking my junior year off due to spending the fall semester in Spain and Morocco I entered my senior year of hockey with a whole new perspective.  I realized I was the sole leader of this young, aspiring team consisting of myself as the only senior and two juniors.  It was my time to take initiative and responsibility to guide the field hockey team to not only a successful career statistically speaking but also as a community—achieving personal goals and living in unity with each other in a respectful and uplifting manner.

I recognize that I am going to be a new member of a completely different team after graduation.  What I have learned over the past four years is that I can’t let my age or lack of experience hinder me from being responsible or taking initiative.  God has granted each of us the experience of being part of a team and it is my hope that we are able to leave this community as an athlete and a graduate and apply those interpersonal skills learned on either the court or field and apply them in the next stage of life, appropriately and meaningfully.