VYPE-U: Hope Culberson, "Yes, I did Quit..."
Often our teammates become like our second family. Sometimes we don't realize this until they're no longer in our lives. Hope Culberson is a junior at Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School and a member of Bridge Lacrosses' Varsity Panther team. I've interviewed her about her experience playing lacrosse after quitting for an entire season.
Culberson has changed her perspective on lacrosse over the years and has ultimately grown to love the sport, and the team she plays with. To her, everyone on her team is her family. Simply attending practice is the highlight of her day. She genuinely enjoys going to the field three times a week, but why did it take her this long to commit herself to the sport? When asked Culberson said:
"I came back mostly because I missed the people. There were a lot of people that I was close to that I didn't get to see anymore so it was pretty easy to convince me to come back. Also, I stopped playing because I couldn't find the time for it and I didn't have those obstacles this time around so it was perfect timing."
When asked about taking a season off and joining the team again she said, "Yes, I actually did quit after my first year because I was having trouble committing fully to it but in the end, I was convinced to come back by friends who also played for Bridge and Coach David. I joke that I'll quit again often but that's not going to happen because I secretly like it here. It's also not a place where you can just cut ties with the entire program. There are always going to be people calling and checking in on you even if you decide not to ever play lacrosse again. They care more about YOU than what you can do with a stick."
For Culberson, taking this time off was a huge lesson for her. She understands, now, that being part of her team is one of the best things in her life. She often regrets not having joined earlier, such as during middle school, and regrets leaving in the first place. The support system that Bridge provides her with, the friendships she's gained, and the mentors she's learned from have molded her into a strong young woman. Like she said, "Bridge has also made me more conscious of what comes after high school. Obviously, I won't be here forever but I am a lot closer to figuring out what I want out of college and how to get there." This team is the backbone of many student-athletes careers after high school and after lacrosse. Although Hope does not wish to play at the collegiate level, she's aware of the hurdles Coach David would go through just to find her a team if she did wish to play. She credits the opportunities Bridge has given her for making her conscious of not wanting to play a sport she would not be completely happy playing in college, and that's okay.
When she first joined Bridge Lacrosse, she was very convinced she would not be going back at all. Her very first time on the field she went home sore, in pain, and confused about how the game worked in the first place. Coincidentally, her first-day playing was the first day of fall conditioning so one could only imagine how she felt after. When asked why she decided to join anyway she said, "I obviously stuck with it in the end and it taught me that on the field and in life energy is contagious. Everyone feeds on each other and if we aren't bringing any excitement then it will show in the way we play. It isn't enough to go through the motions, your body AND mind have to be in the game. I really knew we were a family when our season was cut short but we still met through zoom calls to stay in touch. Then I really realized how much I love the people I am surrounded by because I missed them more than most of my classmates. That's also when I realized how much Bridge touched all of their lives because the thought of leaving brought many of them to tears."
As for after high school lacrosse, Culberson wishes to attend a four-year university with a good business program and moderate climate.
VYPE-U wishes her the best of luck on her journey to college and beyond.
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