Friends vs. teammates

Jackie Derasmo

Is there a difference between a friend and a teammate?
I ran… actually, I walked… ok, I hobbled to my car after lacrosse practice. Put my keys in the ignition, and like every driver in the world, put my foot on the break so that I could shift into reverse and jet home to change my clothes and grab some lunch.
I looked over my right shoulder; all clear. Looked over my left shoulder and checked the rear view mirror quickly. All clear there, too. So it was go time. I tried to shift into reverse, but I couldn’t. After about 30 seconds of flipping out and cursing the car dealership, I realized what it was.
Because of the seven million sets of lunges we did at practice, and those weird exercises that made us look like Greek dancers, my poor right leg did not have enough strength to fully push down on the break. So, with some help of my left, equally sore leg, the two worked together and I was finally able to drive home for a scorching shower.
So how many people have ever experienced something like that? It is a story that only my teammates would appreciate, and truly understand.
After three years and a few months of playing college lacrosse, I have realized that there is a real difference between friends and teammates.
I ran… actually, I walked… ok I hobbled to the mailbox. Still sore from practice I reached in and pulled out every little piece of mail that we got. Nothing exciting. A letter from a governor asking that I vote for him, an announcement about some new magazine and my cell phone bill, which is known to be quite high at times.
Hobbling back to my bedroom as I open the bill, I hear my roommate on the phone with her boyfriend. As she chatted away about how Friday night was, I tore into my phone bill: $200! I almost cried.
My roommate dropped the phone and came to my rescue, as always, making life just a little easier. “Don’t even worry about it,” she said. “I get paid tomorrow and then you can pay half, and I’ll get the other half. You’ll pay me back whenever! I know you would do it for me.”
Now, how many people would actually give you $100 because you were dumb enough to over use your cell phone again? Only a true friend.
Okay, so I have friends and I have teammates. A teammate is the one you lose or win a game with and a friend is the one you cry to when you have played poorly.
A friend is there because you love them and you want them to be there. Although you may love your teammate and want him or her to be around, ultimately he or she is there because you both share a love for the same sport.
While it is unlikely that you can yell at friend and have all be forgotten five minutes later, you can scream at a teammate on the field and give each other a hug the second you step off the field.
A friend may never see you throw up from running too hard, but a teammate may never see you act silly at the dinner table, or fight with your parents over a bad grade.
So I guess after three years and a few months of playing college lacrosse, I have realized that both friends and teammates are equally needed, but play extremely different roles in the life of a student athlete.