Article by Sana Singru
With IASAS being right around the corner, coaches this week faced the annual challenge of having to finalize the roster for the athletes. This meant that there were a number of disappointed players, however also a number of ecstatic ones. Of those exultant athletes, there were many that will be experiencing their first IASAS ever, as well as some that will be participating in their last. As such, there is, undoubtedly, a wide range of emotions being felt in regards to this upcoming event. BT interviewed a few of these sportsmen.
The initial inquiry for the athletes was to question their general feeling going into either their first or last IASAS. Freshman Kimberly R., said “ I’m really looking forward to IASAS, as it’s an opportunity for me to bond with my teammates” and thought that the most predominant emotions she felt were nervousness and excitement. On the other hand the two seniors that were interviewed had a slightly different standpoint. Senior Khenzom A said “It feels very emotional knowing that this will be the seniors’ last time playing all together as a team! I’m sad that the season is coming to an end, but I’m also so proud of how much the team has grown since my freshman year”. Another anonymous senior said “It feels the last 4 years went by really fast”. Of course, it’s understandable that athletes in their 4th and final year playing at IASAS would feel sentimental. It can also be a difficult time for some seniors as they may not have achieved exactly what they would have hoped by this time. When asked the main emotion felt right now in regards to IASAS, an anonymous senior said “[I feel] Jealousy and self-loathing – jealousy towards the other players who got picked as team captain… my pride for the last 4 years is all crumbling”. Such emotions are often felt in athletes, especially if they’re in their last year of competition at ISM. While this can be perceived as a somewhat negative outlook, these emotions are vital in the growth of a player. These feelings push one to do better, improve, and come out stronger and more self-aware. However, one must also remember not to let this mindset overpower them and push them towards an unhealthy, and stunted path in terms of their growth as a player and a person.
The next series of questions in the interview asked the players about the things they were most and least looking forward to. When asked, Kimberly said “ The thing I’m looking forward to the most is being able to travel and race overseas with my teammates” however she was “least looking forward to all the pressure that comes from the competition.” Khenzom on the other hand said “I think we’re all very eager to see how we compare to the other schools, especially since most schools lost a lot of seniors last year (including us), so we’re all relatively new teams” and there was nothing she was not looking forward to! With being new to a team and having to travel overseas to compete against other people, the pressure that is present solely due to this, is immense. On the other hand, with players that have experienced such things a couple of times before, their focus will be more on the actual competition. Furthermore, seniors are determined to cherish every moment and do the best they possibly can. Khenzom said that her goal for the tournament was “To play to the level we are capable of playing at in all of our games while also having fun and bonding as a team”. This idea of teamwork was also present in Kimberly’s answer: “My goal for this IASAS is to support my teammates to the best of my ability, and to contribute as much as I can to the team in order to improve our chances at medaling”.
To conclude, there are a number of differences as well as some similarities in the overall feelings and emotions of first time vs last time IASAS athletes. Regardless of whether this is their first or last tournament, it is hoped that they all do the best they possibly can and remain positive even in times of despair. The Bearcat community wishes them the best of luck in their upcoming games!