When I first came to college, one of the hardest parts was leaving my family. I was so used to being around them all the time… and even though we argued and fought, there was still no group of people that I wanted to spend all that time with. What I quickly realized about VU WSO is that even though you leave your family behind at home, you end up gaining even more family by being a part of this team.
My immediate family at Valpo is the team – There are 21 of us sisters (or wives – which might be hard for people that aren’t on the team to understand), and we have 1 trainer, 2 coaches, and 3 volunteers that would do anything for us. (They care about us sooo much that they give out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate milk after EVERY game!) We’re just like any other family… we fight and argue, and get pretty mad at each other sometimes. But in the end, there’s no other group of people we want to be with.
Occasionally, we’re lucky enough that we get to see our real families during season. Sometimes our parents / siblings have the chance to come out and support us, even when the games are far away. What’s amazing is that these families always open their arms to any of the girls whose families weren’t able to come out that day and love them like their own. Even Coach John’s wife, Susie, has been there after games to give me a hug and tell me that she’ll be my family that day since my parent’s couldn’t make it.
These families don’t just support us at the games… since I’ve been here, countless people have opened their homes to us when we’ve been on the road to let us relax and give us a home-cooked meal. Traveling during season can be rough… just because we have games doesn’t mean we can put homework or any other stressors on hold while we’re away. These families make us feel loved and at home even when we’re hundreds of miles away.
Four years ago, I had no idea that leaving my family actually meant that I was gaining family. We look out for each other and care about one another (one of my teammates parent’s even told me that I could live with them if I decided to move out to Colorado when I graduated!), and when girls graduate and move away they are still as much a part of our family as the girls who are currently on the team. Of course, the team’s success is important and means a lot to us… but when it comes down to it, it’s the relationships that we make over the years that means the most.
(Dana McGlone – sorry for taking so long to blog, but maybe if you told me about the weather more often, I would have written it sooner)