Tour guide Owen ’20 has learned important life lessons as a member of Peddie’s varsity lacrosse team.
I started playing lacrosse at age five. It seemed like a fun sport, and as the fastest game on two feet, it appealed to a hyperactive sports junkie like me. The first time I played in a competitive environment was at Hot Shot Lacrosse Camp held at Peddie (which happened to be run by my future advisor, Mr. Wood). After Hot Shot, I gradually developed my skills and began playing whenever I could – I played on our township travel team, my middle school team and for a summer club team. Finally, I began playing Peddie lacrosse.
As a freshman, I started for our varsity team as an offensive midfielder. I played a significant amount in each game but was not a very impactful player. We finished the season 4-12; I learned many lessons that season, including how to gracefully handle a loss … or even 12 of them. As a devoted member of the program, I was frustrated with our poor record.
Sophomore year, I started for our varsity team as a close defender; I had improved my game over the summer and was able to contribute more on the field in this position. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; our team’s record remained 4-12 for a second year. There were small signs of improvement both personally and as a team; I was awarded the Del-Von Coaches Award at the end of the season (presented for leadership, sportsmanship and commitment), and we lost five games by only two goals or less.
I have learned how to lead, how to follow and how to cooperate with teammates of all different levels and personalities.
We were a young team, and we were willing to work hard, win or lose. That factor alone gave me hope for the next season, and I vowed not to give up. We were only graduating five players. Maybe we could be better next season.
Junior year began. We had a new coach, I was elected co-captain of the team, and there were several new faces – who arrived with considerable lacrosse experience - at the first team meeting that fall. Expectations were high, and I guaranteed my teammates that we would not have a repeat of the last two years.
We began practicing informally as a team that fall, which was earlier than I had ever practiced with a Peddie lacrosse team. We participated in an indoor winter league competing against teams from around the area, some of which we would see in the spring. After school, we would have lifts with Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Volkmar, and afterward, we would play lacrosse until it got dark.
After several months of hard work, the season was here, and we were ready. We competed well against nearly every team we played and never gave up, no matter how skilled the opponent was. We fought through injuries, losses and other adversities. At the end of the season, our record improved to 7-10 – still a losing record, but far better than the last two seasons. While I wasn’t entirely satisfied, I was proud of the team we became and the program we had begun to build.
Being an invested member of the Peddie Lacrosse program has taught me life lessons I carry with me everywhere and will never forget. I have learned how to lead, how to follow and how to cooperate with teammates of all different levels and personalities. The most important thing I learned from the past three seasons is that Peddie students are hardworking, relentless individuals filled with integrity. They are the type of teammates I want on my side when I am in a difficult game, and the odds are against us. We can handle adversity, and I can’t wait for next season.