The alarm sounded at 4:30am. I forced down a granola bar as the four other freshmen and I headed over to the gym for our third and final Marine workout of preseason.
Rain poured onto us as we began warming up. After a Marine conditioning test and Olympic style workout the previous weeks, we finalized our work by doing 200 squats, 150 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 75 burpees, 1 kilometer of tire flips and army crawls, followed by planks and sprints. We had turf burns covering our elbows and knees and our bodies wanted to shut down from complete exhaustion.
The Sergeants we worked with concluded our workout by speaking of the skills we had used, which were comparable to those needed in the Marines. These included leading through action and verbal communication, winning before the battle begins, having a definitive belief in our teammates and ourselves. Holding each other accountable and the endurance and will to pull through to the end.
Although only five games into a thirty game season, it has already become apparent how the skills we learned months ago translate onto the court. The games we have won were achieved when the team competed as one unit, working to make the best play for the team, not the individual.
While we enter every game believing we can win, just one person misaligned to the team’s overall goal can jolt the entire team’s performance. Each game requires something different in order for us to succeed: a mismatch in the post or an advantage on the wing with the quickness of our guards.
Expectation is placed on us to stay ready, so that when we’re on the court, we can perform to the highest standard- not just for ourselves, but also for our teammates.
Most importantly, your teammates need you, just as much as you need them.
I think that every student-athlete coming from England has the same adversity to conquer. It can be difficult to acclimate to a new level and style of play, on top of the amount of school work. However, what sets us all apart from our teammates who grew up in the American system is that we have already had to overcome so much in order to get here.
The early mornings and gruelling workouts certainly aren’t easy but I’m motivated to push through and to give my best every day to prove to all the aspiring student-athletes back home that this is possible.
My goal for the remainder of my time at Loyola is to make the most of the opportunity I have been given, proving that all the hard work and sacrifice is worth it.