Certainly, in my rugby career most of my time was spent going from matches, tournaments, and tours without much reflection. But one rugby event was memorable when it happened and still amazing when I think about it now. It's one of the happiest memories of my life so far, and I'm thankful just to be able to have experienced it.
I've played rugby for 10 years now and the 2006 National Championship Tournament stands out as the moment that makes all the training and sacrifice worth it. Being part of the NY team (NYRC) for 5 years, I saw the team during high and low moments. We had climbed our way to be one of top clubs in the country, but plateaued at 3rd, not being able to beat the Minnesota Valkyries. We knew we'd face them again in the semi-finals, but entering 2006 Nationals, NYRC was again hopeful.
Minnesota has been a consistently great team because of their ability to play hard and keep their opponents fighting until the last minute. In a difficult but exciting game, I remember hitting a lull at min 60 (out of 80). We pushed each other to dig deep and play hard to the end, resulting in a much-coveted victory against the Valkyries (32-15). The victory was ours to celebrate for the rest of the afternoon, but we had to quickly focus on the next day where we would meet the 9-time National Champions, the Berkeley All-Blues.
The finals seemed like a complete blur. I actually don't remember much except not being able to breathe after running support across the whole field. Berkeley has been consistently the best in the country for a reason, but we played good "team" rugby and really connected with each other; at the whistle we were victorious on the day (22-17)!
The pure happiness and joy that came next was overwhelming. Everyone ran onto the field - hugging, crying, cheering, congratulating. We had never won a National Championship before; but what we were really celebrating was each other and the satisfaction of having worked hard as individuals and as a team to achieve a shared dream.
Sabrina Asch, former teammate and amazing photographer, was there to immortalize the love and excitement on the field.
"a moment to indulge in for the rest of our lives and the look on our faces is the grandest reciprocal for hard work"
If I ever need a pick-me-up, I flip through pictures like these from Nationals. I'm transported back to that moment and I can't help but smile and feel an immense joy for having been part of it.
As we go through our lives accomplishing things big and small, overcoming challenges, and striving for more, it's important to appreciate the happiness and joy that our hard work has brought us and be thankful for how far we've come.
- What's your happiest moment or achievement so far? Please share...