Joining a New Family on the Athletic Fields

As a seventh-grade student in my local public school, I discovered that I had an interest in field hockey. It was not until my freshman year at George School that I really refined my skills and fell in love with the sport. The summer after eighth grade when I was preparing for my freshman year, Nancy Bernardini, the head coach of the varsity girls’ field hockey team, reached out to me to talk about field hockey and my options at George School. She invited me to preseason, the two-week session before school starts where each fall sports team exercises together, bonds with each other, and prepares for the season.

While incredibly physically challenging, the preseason program was one of the most amazing experiences I have had with sports, and convinced me, once again, that George School is where I belonged. The team became my new family and made my transition into a new school practically seamless. And that was just the beginning of the season. For me, the field hockey team, including the coaches, was so much more than just people with who I practice sports for two hours; they were a support system. I learned so much from my teammates: how to make goals for myself, how to work towards achieving those goals, how to pick myself up when I do not meet my goals, and how to work with others towards creating something bigger than myself.

My positive experiences with the field hockey team encouraged me to try other sports, even though I had never played them before. That year, I had Nancy as a coach for all three seasons: field hockey (fall), developmental basketball (winter), and lacrosse (spring). I am proud to say that as a rising senior, I have been on two different varsity level teams (field hockey and lacrosse) and have tried three new sports (basketball, lacrosse, and swim). I encourage all new students, whether you are a sports expert or new to the arena like I was, to attend preseason and to try new sports. That experience will change your life, just like it did mine.

Leyna is a day student from Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

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