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Fall Athletics Banquet Talk
By Emily Houston ’18
November 9, 2017

“It’s not about who you’re playing against, it’s about who you’re playing with.”

With one more game left to play, until the end of my high school field hockey career, I am left reflecting on this quote my coach Fran likes to say before we face tough opponents.

Feeling nostalgic about the season coming to an end, a few of my teammates and I began sharing memories about our experiences over the years.

Each memory we shared would not be the same without our team being a part of them. The importance of our team reminds me of the quote Fran has been saying to us for all these years.

At first, I never truly understood the importance of her words. It felt like a saying just to take away the nerves of playing in a tough game. But as my four years come to an end, this quote has started to mean more than that to me. Without my team, I would not be the athlete, friend, or student I am today.

There are many things I love about being on a team. There are the fun, lighthearted things like our long bus rides, braiding each other’s hair, our inside jokes, or even working on homework together. Then there are the experiences we share together that are a culmination of our hard work. Like when we have been working on a passing sequence all week at practice and finally execute it perfectly in a game. Or even when we celebrate a team effort that led to an amazing overtime win against Loomis. All of these team experiences strengthen our bonds as teammates and help grow our friendships off the field too.

Many teams eat dinner together in Alumni; some, like mine, even go to Sunday brunches together. The camaraderie we share on the field translates to amazing friendships and experiences off the field. Because of the years I have spent playing sports at NMH, I have made lasting friendships I can count on.

Last year my stress and anxiety reached an all-time high, as I went through the college-recruiting process. But I knew that I could count on my teammates, each and every day, to make me smile at practice, and help me let go of the pressure I was feeling.

NMH has given us coaches who want nothing other than for us to succeed. Success doesn’t necessarily mean a win on the field, but rather growth as an athlete and as an individual. Our coaches, who are teammates too, are willing to help us overcome any adversity on and off the field. This job description is not written in ink, but the culture here at NMH allows this to shine day in and day out.

Our teams consist of more than just the friends we play sports with and our coaches. Our teammates are teachers, advisors, parents, and members of the athletics department like Stoney, Jessie, Wendy, and Kevin.

In a game, competing against The Hotchkiss School, my teammate and close friend dislocated her shoulder. With the help of our talented trainers, supportive coaches, and an eager paramedic on the sideline who just happens to be my father, she found herself back on the field within a few short weeks.

Our teammates are the people who make us better, stronger, and more prepared for new challenges each day. And although I love all of the fun and lighthearted traditions I share with my team, the part I love most is knowing I will see their friendly faces on campus each day.

Although this banquet is celebrating the end of one season and the start of another, it is not the end of our friendships. For some of us, this is our last season here. For others, this your first. While I may not know what kind of teams you will be on after you leave NMH, I do know that the teams we have built at NMH will always be here for us, no matter where we are.

As this chapter of athletics closes, some of us will continue to forge our friendships and support system here and others will move forward to the collegiate ranks and seek the same friendships and support we experience at NMH. Regardless of where you play in the future and what team you find yourself a part of, I challenge you to remember that it’s not about who you’re playing against, but rather who you’re playing with.

Thank you.

Photo by Glenn Minshall


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