In high school, a major milestone for me was quitting soccer. Now, at the time I was ready for that change and genuinely could not imagine missing the sport. I was tired, burnt out and looking forward to the new experiences awaiting me in college which was arriving in the not so far future.
Two years away from the sport was long enough for me to realize I could actually miss it and this hiatus reached its end right around the time I joined Alpha Phi. In joining Alpha Phi, I realized that for someone like me, I could not avoid participating in sports forever. It was a part of me and it was something I loved, just like Alpha Phi.
Alpha Phi had a sports team for practically every sport offered by our school’s intramural program and I slowly found myself immersed within every team. Before I knew it, I had played on the Alpha Phi flag football team, futsal team, basketball team, softball team and of course, soccer team (the only sport I neglected to participate in being volleyball).
And, I have since enjoyed every moment of my involvement. I have also realized that Alpha Phi and sports have more in common than one would instinctively think. Sports teams require support to achieve success and, well, Alpha Phi is one giant team who supports each and every sister. While participating in the sport itself is enjoyable, when I first quit soccer, the thing I did internally acknowledge that I may miss most was my teammates and the mere feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, of being part of a team.
Alpha Phi is the same way.
There is something to be said for stepping on that dimly lit turf field at 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night with the women who love you, encourage you, support you and maybe even love the sport as much as you. And, of course, we like to win, and many times we do but, many times we don’t. However, when that final whistle is blown, we consistently step off that field laughing, smiling and encouraging those who are maybe struggling to do the same.
I still remember when our flag football team was mercy ruled one night (meaning we were losing so badly that the officials had to call our game short). While we were all a little embarrassed, we raced together for a team picture smiling so bright our coaches were concerned that our knowledge of football was so lacking that we may have thought that we had come out of that game with a victory. We even went out for ice cream afterwards. I also remember when our soccer team won the intramural championships on a hot and sunny Sunday May afternoon. It was only an hour or two following senior ceremonies and one of our senior sisters ended her last game with Alpha Phi by scoring the winning goal. Sisters and friends rushed the field in equal excitement with their poster board signs reading “GΑme Φn” and “Go Seniors! ΑΦ”.
While I personally have found enjoyment in every sport I have participated in with Alpha Phi, soccer season in the spring is the one I now look most forward to. Soccer requires 11 girls on the field not including substitutions which means its one of the biggest sports teams we organize, meaning more quality time with more sisters. And, I know for certain I am not the only one who feels that way at least at Eta Lambda. For us, Alpha Phi intramurals combines the many different aspects of ourselves with our sisterhood. It combines a competitive drive with a light heart and love for sport and sisterly bonding. They are one of many ways in which we learn how to cope with both losing egregiously and winning gracefully, together. As as team, as a sisterhood.
So, Alpha Phi and sports do go together and there is a love for both that bonds the two. At the end of the day, we are a stronger, more synergistic unit because of it.
Christina Castle is a collegiate member at George Mason University (Eta Lambda). To learn more about Christina, click here.