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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

I was a two sport Varsity athlete for most of my high school career. I had four seasons of Varsity golf under my belt, and almost three seasons of Varsity lacrosse (blame Covid for the “almost”). Prior to that, I had been golfing since I could walk and had been playing lacrosse since fifth grade. I also played tennis for many years, danced for over a decade, and swam competitively for a few years. I also had a long run playing soccer and I did gymnastics at one point too. 

There was no shortage of athletic gear in my house, but a severe lack of free time. Most of these sports dwindled away as practice and game schedules became more time consuming and the level of play became more physically demanding. Gymnastics was the first to go at about age 10 because I didn’t want to continue, then swim because I hated the early morning practices (teenage me was convinced 9am was “too early”). Then I quit dance and soccer after 8th grade when I decided that I wanted to focus on golf and lacrosse because I wanted to do those in high school, and potentially even in college. Tennis was the only one that stuck around that I was mildly interested in, but never really did anything with. I took lessons for most of my childhood and early teen years, and was even on a youth team at one point. I never really did anything with it after that besides participating in high school gym classes. 

I was not the girl who cried during senior nights because she was going to miss her team and her sport that badly. Sure I was gonna miss my teammates, but I was gonna see most of them around town anyway. 

I was actually relieved when my high school golf career ended senior year. I put way too much pressure on myself to play perfectly every day when that was not at all a reasonable expectation to have. I would sometimes have anxiety attacks if I knew it was an important match or tournament. Those anxiety attacks only started senior year when the pressure to commit to play college golf really set in. This not only had a huge affect on my mental health, but negatively impacted how I played as well. It became an endless cycle of bad rounds and crying on the way home. Looking back, I was never even as bad as I felt I was. I had one of the best records on the team senior year and won quite a few matches. I kept all my old scores and after looking at them while writing this, I actually don’t think current me could beat senior year me in a match.

I was also thrilled when lacrosse season ended because we were incapable of winning and we also had a brand new coach who I never really clicked with. He had no lacrosse experience, and even though he truly tried his best, I couldn’t help but get frustrated and wonder if the season would have gone differently if our old coach had stayed. 

 I turned down every offer I got in either sport and chose to attend Holy Cross as the NARP I felt I was meant to be. I’ll admit, turning down golf offers when my family and I had dedicated our entire lives to getting me to play collegiate golf was incredibly heartbreaking, but I think it hurt them more than it hurt me. I couldn’t put myself through four more years of potentially debilitating anxiety. 

It hurts because I loved playing sports, especially golf, but I like being NARP. I’ve been in the process of recovering from my golf anxiety and this is the first year I’ve truly let everything go. My game has improved and I think that’s because I don’t play competitively anymore. There’s no stakes and no self-created pressure. My heart rate doesn’t spike on the way to a tee time and I don’t drive through tears on the way home. I don’t angrily rant to my parents about losing our 14th straight lacrosse game, as they assure me I played the best possible defense that I could. I know these intense emotions just reflected how much I really cared and how I felt as though all the time I had dedicated wasn’t paying off, but a lot of these pressures were internal. I enjoyed both my sports, but could never let myself be happy with the effort I put in. Whatever I did always had to be better. I’ve mellowed out now.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to stay active in college. Club golf wasn’t an option freshman year because I wasn’t sure about the time commitment and unsure of my feelings towards it. I tried out for club lacrosse, but at tryouts I found myself surrounded by girls who could run faster, shoot more accurately, and catch better than I ever could. Needless to say, I didn’t make the team. I was going to try out sophomore year, but missed the dates. I guess it was never meant to be!

I honestly felt lost without a sport which was highly unexpected. I miss the strict schedule that it provides. I also never realized how much playing golf and lacrosse kept me in shape. When I returned to golf after a few month hiatus the summer going into freshman year, I was so sore. I still get sore just because I’m not playing every day like I used to. I also never realized how much running I did during lacrosse season. As a defender, I never felt like I did that much running at practices or during games, but short sprints add up fast. I’d always request to run sprints at practice because I liked it better than running a certain distance. During games I was truly in the zone, so I never actually thought about just how much I was moving my body. 

I started taking pilates classes at the Jo fall of freshman year and fell in love. Then I started boxing during the spring semester and fell even more in love! I now take yoga classes and still do Pink Gloves Boxing. I’m also an avid pickleball player which is probably because of my tennis background. 

Coming back to school for sophomore year I decided to take up running. What I used to hate has now become a form of catharsis. It keeps me in shape, helps me focus, and acts as a way to clear my mind. I’ve even mentally written papers on runs. I still sprint on the treadmill occasionally, but I prefer running outside when it’s nice. I actually attended my first club tennis practice on Monday at the request of my friend Ann and I LOVED it. I wasn’t super confident in my ability to keep up with everyone just because I haven’t played in so long, but muscle memory kicked in and my serves were actually half-decent. I definitely need to practice because my rustiness was evident in how I whiffed several times and couldn’t hit the ball straight sometimes, but it was nice to get outside and do something that used to bring me so much happiness. I even reached out to a few of my friends from home who were on my high school’s team to see if they want to play this summer. I’m excited to be playing a sport where I can tell there’s room for improvement, but not to the extent that it’s causing me huge amounts of stress. The stakes are low and I refuse to put any pressure on myself to get better. I could tell that my form was off because my forearm was so sore when I woke up the next day which isn’t supposed to happen if you’re doing it right. I expect to feel pain for a bit until my arms adjust to this kind of movement again and my body remembers that it knows how to play tennis. For now, I just need to remind myself that practice makes progress; it will never make perfect.

Rhiannon Dyment

Holy Cross '26

Rhiannon Dyment is a sophomore at Holy Cross. She is double majoring in English and Political Science with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. Rhiannon wants to continue on to law school after graduation. Outside of HerCampus she is involved with the Holy Cross Admissions Office, Purple Key Society, Feminist Forum, and Pink Gloves Boxing. Rhiannon loves dogs, warm weather, acai bowls, and playing golf.