A very unexpected dance to lacrosse pipeline

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024

Photo by Marisa Valdez

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].