Caitlin Dorsch ~ Co-Editor in Chief
Throughout my sports career, both at the club level and collegiate level, I am often asked, “Why did you decide to become a goalkeeper?” Typically, their statement is followed by a quick remark like, “You must be crazy. That position is too stressful for me. You are like the last person to stop a goal from going in!”
In response, I say, “Yes, you are right. It is a very stressful position, but that is why I love it!” To be honest with you, I have a love/hate relationship with my position. It is a ton of pressure knowing that you are the last person between the opponent team scoring and the sacred goal. It is hard knowing that one mistake by you could inevitably lead to a loss for your team. For me, having the trust and love for my teammates and coaches on the women’s soccer team at the University of Lynchburg was the most important aspect for me to want to do well. Without feeling supported and wholeheartedly trusted by my teammates and coaches, I would not have had the confidence during my final year of eligibility to believe in myself as a goalkeeper.
And, it is the feeling of that confidence that makes me love the goalkeeper position despite all of its scary moments and stress. Those moments in a close game where I can “come up big” or make a simple save to secure the game or keep it at a draw are memories that I will never forget. Talking about these moments literally makes me smile as I am writing. Even almost three full months after my collegiate career ended, I still find myself thinking about those short moments where I feel the support and trust of my teammates. Typically, I get sad for a short time after I think about those moments but then I realize how special I am to have had those experiences with my teammates in the first place.
There is one moment in particular that I am thinking about as I am writing this. It was our senior night game this past season against Virginia Wesleyan University, our last regular season home game on Shellenberger Field. In the end, we lost in the second overtime period by a score of 1 to 2, but – about halfway through the first half of that game — I began to feel different than I have ever felt before while playing on that field. I made a few saves, but that did not matter; it was the reaction from my teammates, especially of those members in my senior class. They looked at me and smiled, showing their support for me in a positive way. It was not a big overt, “Good job!” All I was looking for was recognition from them because of how important they have been to finding my own identity as a person in such a big world.
No matter what, I will always love and care for each and every one of my women’s soccer senior class, with whom I will graduate in May of this year. Yes, I will be the first person to help out any one of my teammates and any time of the day, but I have literally grown up with these teammates. My first year at Lynchburg, I was individualistic and uncaring about others. It was this team and my senior class teammates who really helped transform me into someone who I am proud of today as I write this.
Now, I want to make note that I am not discounting any of the amazing experiences with my teammates and coaches in Africa or in Costa Rica when we played their respective national teams. But, in the United States, this is one of my most memorable moments as a player at the University of Lynchburg.
These moments are what keep me sane. These moments are what have made me who I am today, even though I no longer have eligibility to play at Lynchburg. These moments will follow me throughout my life, and I will never forget these special moments that make me remember why I chose to be a goalkeeper in the first place.