Athlete-students

A very unexpected dance to lacrosse pipeline

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

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December 5, 2022
Not+an+athlete+student+but+a+mental+health+student

Photo by Marisa Valdez

Not an athlete student but a mental health student

Most dancers start dancing as soon as they start walking. They go from cute little ballerinas, twirling and falling over, to elegant and graceful adults.

I danced as a three-year-old purely so I could wear my Barbie ballerina dress in public, but it turned out I didn’t care enough to stick with it.

During my fourth-grade year, my best friend’s mom reopened her dance studio right downtown. I started going multiple days a week just to see my best friend who was at the studio whenever she possibly could.

The teachers at the studio got me started on stretching, and I would go home and sit in my splits in front of the TV for hours every night, or hold onto a shelf and see how long I could keep my leg in the air.

My best friend’s mom’s studio closed not long after, but I decided I wanted to keep dancing. I went through a couple of other studios throughout middle school, then by freshman year of high school, I decided I wanted to join the dance team.

I was never technically trained and had no competition experience, but I wanted to be on this team more than anything. I made it my freshman year and dedicated all my energy to the team.

By my sophomore year, the team was winning competitions, and even won a nationwide spirit award.

I loved dance more than anything, but by my junior year, there were more days I came home crying from practice than not.

Girls screamed at each other constantly and the coaches just sat back and watched. Everyone tore each other down. It was less of a team dynamic and more of a constant competition with each other.

About a week before the homecoming game, I sprained my ankle. This was not a small injury, but the coaches would not let me sit out to let it heal, despite the three different doctor’s notes I got.

Not long after homecoming, I could not take it anymore, and I sent in my resignation.

I didn’t do much besides cry for a couple weeks after, but then I saw the school’s lacrosse team was recruiting.

I joined the lacrosse team half as a joke. Partially, I thought the skirts were cute. I also used to joke that I was going to quit dance and join lacrosse, and since I had already done the “quit dance” part, I had to complete the bit.

I dragged a couple of my friends along to the first practice and got them to join the team with me.

I would love to say it was love at first sight, but it absolutely was not.

Unfortunately, the gracefulness I had on the dance floor, or musty gym floor in the case of high school dance teams, did not translate to wearing cleats and carrying a stick.

About two weeks later, COVID-19 hit, and the season ended just as quickly as it started.

In June, I picked up my yearbook and found out I had lettered in varsity lacrosse. I didn’t end up doing lacrosse again my senior year, but that did not stop me from having “lacrosse” embroidered right under “dance” on my letterman jacket.

It was a part of my story, one I didn’t realize would ever continue.

In my first year of college, I heard the UW-Eau Claire women’s club lacrosse team was recruiting.

I already had all the (basically brand-new) supplies I needed, so I thought I may as well show up.

Now, this was love at first sight.

I had never been in such a supportive, friendly sports environment before.

I stuck with lacrosse through freshman year, and the former vice president convinced me to join the board as secretary for the next year.

I came back in my second year and still was not a natural-born lacrosse player, but was much better and more confident than the year prior.

I still miss dance with all my heart but am so grateful I found a team that loves and accepts me for who I am.

Price can be reached at [email protected]