By Annie ’23
I have been a part of the athletics program at Harvard-Westlake since 7th grade and I am grateful every day that I made that decision to do so. I learned so much about myself and it was an amazing opportunity for me to meet new people at Harvard-Westlake along with developing bonds with other people in my grade and in the grades above.
Though I was never any good at it, the time I spent at volleyball practices and games in 7th grade was very important to me and still is to this day. I made so many friends during that fall season that I am still very close with. Harvard-Westlake is as much about trying things and figuring out what you don’t like as it is about finding things that you love. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. During that volleyball season, while learning that I didn’t have the necessary skill, I also discovered that I didn’t enjoy volleyball very much. But, my new friends and amazing coach made the new experience worthwhile.
In 7th grade, I also decided to continue my childhood passion for basketball. I continued basketball through 8th grade and I loved my teammates. Each and every one of them shared the same passion I had for the sport and everyone was there to lift each other up before, during, or after practice. Along with the bond that grew throughout the team, our coach had an individual and overall bond to each player and the team itself. I had grown so much throughout those years with my teammates and the family that evolved from that team is still present 3 years later.
And, finally, I was able to try out for field hockey in the spring of my first year at HW. Field hockey season came during the last sports season of the year. Immediately after that first practice, I had so many new friends and I felt very connected to the coaches. I was able to try playing goalie for the season and to this day it is the best decision I have ever made regarding my sports life. Field hockey has meant so much to me through the years. I have been able to make new friends both in my grade and all the way up to the seniors and I have always felt the team was such an inclusive family. I know that whenever I have an issue, whether that be a conflict with practice or something more personal, there is no one more understanding than my coaches and teammates. The bus rides to the games are some of the best hours of my life; listening to music, talking with friends, making new friends, or even just having an upperclassman help you with your homework. And, on the ride home, you sit and relax with your newly made friends, reminiscing the awesome plays you made during your victory game or looking forward to the game next week as a new opportunity for redemption.
Overall, I would not change my decision to join the athletic program at Harvard-Westlake for the world. Through it, I found successes, failures, and knowledge about myself. I am grateful for every friend, opportunity, laugh, cry, and family that the program has given me and I can not wait for more memories like the ones I hold closest to heart to come in the next couple of years. Even though I didn’t stick with all of the sports I tried, that’s just it–I tried, and even if it wasn’t my thing, I kept trying until I found what was.