When I first started playing lacrosse, I was no taller than my stick. This made it nearly impossible to play at first, but my love for the game only grew as I, too, grew taller each year. The speed of the sport was contagious for an overly energetic eight-year old like me, and my first teammates also quickly became lifelong friends. 13 years later at Colorado College, I am still playing the game I fell in love with as a boy. This summer I had the opportunity to be the Investment Office Intern at El Pomar, an experience that showed me how a successful professional organization closely resembles a winning sports team. While El Pomar has different goals than my lacrosse team, the same underlying principles apply, and I appreciated the opportunity to see how the strengths I’ve developed on the field play out in the professional world as well.
To start, teamwork is crucial in both settings. At El Pomar, colleagues must work together daily in order to complete different tasks and pull their own weight within the group. Without this employee collaboration, the Foundation as a whole would not be able to operate efficiently. Similarly, teamwork is a crucial aspect to lacrosse because there are so many moving pieces that must come together in order to perform well. The goalie and attackmen are both essential to winning the game, even if their main purposes are directly opposite. Each game, we also have to trust that each player will complete his specific role to the best of his ability. Learning to communicate with my teammates from one side of the field to the other has taught me how to collaborate and work with others off the field as well.
Another shared aspect of lacrosse and professional work is the importance of learning from mistakes. While most of my teams’ seasons have been successful over the years, there have also always been mistakes and losses along the way. These are the games where you learn the most about yourself as a person and teammate. This summer, I saw how this translates to the workplace. Although there are no heart-breaking losses in the office, there will always be adversity. Whether misspelling a word in an important email or arriving late for a meeting, I have found that these moments actually offered the greatest opportunity for growth.
In my years of playing lacrosse, there have been many moments of joy to remind me why I love the game. There have also been countless 6 a.m. workouts in the weight room, practices in the snow, and days we ran so much we could have been mistaken for the track team. However, it is the difficult moments that have consistently reminded me that success doesn’t come without hard work. I might not have realized it at the time, but all those years on the lacrosse field have prepared me to succeed in the working world. In less than a year I will be graduating with a bachelor’s in economics, and concluding my career as a student-athlete. Despite the nerves I have about my transition after graduation, thanks to my years of lacrosse I am confident I will find my place on many more teams.