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Address given by by Louis Gazo ’19 on 11/9/18

Good evening fellow athletes, coaches, and staff.

I am humbled to be giving a speech tonight in front of all of you. As some of you might know, I usually tend to side with a more informal or impromptu speech, but tonight is a night of reflection and celebration that requires a more formal speech.

First off, thank you to the NMH dining staff; you have always made wonderful meals for this special evening. Thank you to all the coaches who have taken their time and energy to support everyone in this room. Thank you to Mr. Leeds for your time and effort this season. And a special thanks to Wendy and Jesse for all your help these past few years.

Tonight’s banquet marks my third and final season here at NMH. I have enjoyed my time here on Peller Field, the people I have met, and the different teams I have had the opportunity to be a part of. Every year here I have come away with many memories and lessons, some of which I would like to share with everyone tonight.

My first year here I did not know what to expect, so I came in and tried my hardest. The team was very welcoming. We all gathered together at Camp Pemigewassett, our preseason destination that has been the cornerstone of our program’s success. I could tell right away that the guys I was with were a special group. I have one memory in particular that I recall from my sophomore year. Our team was all in Shea hanging out, when someone had the idea to start hitting their hand on the side of the couch. A few others joined in with different makeshift instruments and soon we had everyone on our team making some noise to create what we thought was a great piece of music. When looking back on this particular moment, I understood that we had become a true team and from this team we had developed as individuals and become better people. We had other great moments in my first season, but did not end up having the flat-out success we hoped for.

However, what I took away from my first season here was that the success of a team is not ranked by where we finished, but by the relationships we formed and the lessons we learned. With this said, look around at your table and appreciate the people around you. The season is finite, but the people you have seen every day for the past few months will be there for you a lot longer than any game we have played.

My second season I learned even more. At Camp Pemigewassett, our field is surrounded by trees and bushes that mask the thick and mucky swamp underneath. Well, at the end of camp we were short a few soccer balls and Charlie had us all line up and walk into the swamp looking for the last few balls. Sure enough, we found the remaining soccer balls in the swamp, and we all came out with mud on us. Some of us were covered with mud up to our waists and did not find a ball, while others had mud just up to their ankles. I did not mind getting dirty, but now I realize that going in the swamp together is a part of growing together. Having similar challenges and experiences brings together different humans and creates a team.

From my junior season and all the moments that made up that season, I came away with the notion that there will be challenges as a season goes on and not everything will go your way, but you will make the most of what life gives you. We had ups and downs as a team, but at the end of the season, at this time last year, we looked across the table and were happy with what we had given. We grew a lot; everyone always learns a different lesson or grows in other ways — it's the art of sports. Sports challenge our weaknesses and create a balance in life that we use to become better people.

And finally, my last season here.

There are too many fond moments and memories of my senior season here. From way back in August, when we all gathered for preseason, to right now, we have shared many memories. Everyone in this room has been a part of this fall season, where we have all taken steps forward in our own growth because of those who have been there with us the entire way. And with that, we must appreciate the time we have, for it will only last so long.

Everything you have done and will do has a purpose. Time goes quickly, so play hard and laugh a lot, as these will be some of your favorite moments. The best way to enjoy a moment is to be fully submerged and engaged; this way, you can look back on these moments and appreciate them. The people you have been with this year will never be the same. You will go to new places, others will come and go, but the moments you have shared with each other will never change. Respect the time you have had together and realize that everything you do has a purpose. Everything has been done with intent, and for that you will be grateful.

My time at Peller Field will be up soon, but I wanted to say thank you to Charlie Malcolm and Jim Burstein for taking me under their wings and teaching me to respect the game and the people around me. Everything you two have done for me has greatly impacted my life and who I am. As for my family, who have traveled down here tonight, I wanted to say thank you as well. Mom and Dad, you have supported me all these years, and that support has given me the platform to challenge myself and to grow from many different challenges.

It has been three great years and I look forward to the last part of the season. Thank you all for listening and I hope you take something away from this. Thank you and enjoy your evening.


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