“What is important is not where someone starts, but what is done with the opportunities given to them.”
My name is Elianna Sanchez and I am currently a junior attending SUNY Oswego with a major in Wellness Promotion and a minor in Biology. During my three years at SUNY Oswego, I have been fortunate enough to play as a lacrosse goalie for the Women’s Lacrosse team.As I continue to grow, I can see how much lacrosse has developed my mind to focus on activities that align with my true self.
The first time I ever picked up a lacrosse stick was in 10th grade during a gym class at John Adams HS in Queens where my teacher was trying to recruit people for a new lacrosse team.During that time, my slim knowledge of the sport was solely based off of the occasional viewing of a T.V. show, which showed the main character as a lacrosse player. Overall, it was a foreign sport to me, but this opportunity sparked my curiosity and I was eager to try it. For the next couple of weeks I learned the basics of passing and catching during gym class. I automatically knew that I wanted to tryout but I was also very aware of my lack of running skills, so I decided to try out as a goalie. The first time I got suited up and played in cage was during tryouts for the first year lacrosse program at John Adams High School. I could not believe the immense pain that such a small rubber ball could cause! I was in complete shock and all I could think was, “What did I get myself into?” Although I was utterly unaware of the magnitude of responsibilities and mental toughness companioned with being a goalie, I did know that I wanted to continue getting better.
The first lacrosse goalie that I ever met in person and had the privilege to work with was Mat Levine, cofounder of Doc’s NYC Lacrosse and CityLax. CityLax provided the assist to start numerous lacrosse teams, including my own high school, and also provided free accessible clinics throughout the winter and summer where I had the opportunity to work with different coaches and volunteers to improve my skills. I believe that the lacrosse programs that have been started by CityLax have been so successful because of the wraparound approach that the organization stands by. It is an organization that helps tackle all different types of issues in order for individuals to succeed on and off the field through the connection of lacrosse. For example, that day during tryouts, I did not know that my teacher would not only become my remarkable lacrosse coach for the rest of my high school years, but would also become a phenomenal mentor and role model who would guide me with love and compassion into my adulthood. Nor did I know that I would discover a passion for a sport that electrified me and made me want to strive for excellence in all areas of my life. This pushed me to put in the extra hours to get better so that I could be the best player I could be and show that what is important is not where someone starts but what is done with the opportunities given to them. This newly found passion simultaneously pushed me to get my grades up so I could meet the team requirements and be eligible to continue playing. Due to these actions, I was later able to join a college team, keep growing as an athlete and guide younger goalies throughout their lacrosse journey. In addition, I was able to get into to science program that cultivated my love for the health field and is allowing me to work towards my dreams of pursuing medical school.
I want to say thank you on behalf of myself and every other athlete that has been strongly impacted by the opportunities given by CityLax. This would not be possible without the help of all its players, volunteers, staff and donors. CityLax has provided much more than the equipment and funding needed for a new lacrosse team; more importantly, it has provided mentorship for student-athletes that are unique to each individual. I can say that I can see myself as a Latina lacrosse player who takes pride in my journey, which would not be possible without the support and care from the astonishing people who make CityLax so successful. The love that I have for the organization makes me play with extra passion in my heart, as I play to represent every member that has made CityLax exceptional. Thank you for supporting CityLax and for taking the time to change lives!
-Elianna Sanchez, Class of 2020 (SUNY Oswego)