It was all worth it

WHS senior Aurora Fidler shares her award-winning essay from the 2017 Will McDonough Writing Contest

Aurora Fidler, Raider Times correspondent

(RAIDER TIMES EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story by Aurora Fidler finished first in the 12th-grade division in the 13th annual Will McDonough Writing Contest, sponsored by the Sports Museum at TD Garden. Also winning this year was the essay submitted by Watertown High School 10th-grader Emma McGoldrick. Aurora and Emma will be honored at TD Garden on Wednesday, March 29, prior to the Bucks-Celtics game. There have been eight winning essays from WHS students in the past seven years, following WHS students Sofia Farhadi (12th grade, 2016), Nicole Frisoli (11th grade, 2016), Joey Kelland (12th grade, 2014), Cameron Anderson (12th grade, 2013), Margaret Antonellis (12th grade, 2012), and Katie Carlson (12th grade, 2011). This year, five WHS students received Honorable Mention recognition: senior Alexan Cinar, senior Yasir Khan, senior Sanan Rafiq, sophomore Alex Egan, and sophomore Abbi Peterson. Congratulations to all of the winners!)


By Aurora Fidler

The sky is dark and the only source of light comes from the fluorescent beams on each corner of the field. The fall night is chilly, but the air is tense. It’s our last field hockey practice before the state championship game. Everybody feels a mix of excitement, nervousness, sadness, and disbelief.

We’ve been working since August to achieve one goal. Struggling through hours of sprints, push-ups, drills, and laps around the field was finally about to pay off. We have a perfect season: 22 games without a loss, just like the six perfect seasons before us. Our coach is a legendary general and we are her dutiful army. With an air of suspense, we go through the motions, forming a circle to stretch before our final practice. We bled, sweat, and cried for months – some of us years – to preserve our reputation: to get to this point, to this last practice, to the final game.

We finish stretching, grab our sticks, and jog onto the field; walking is not acceptable. It feels just like any other practice, but it couldn’t be more different. We have one game left, and no choice but to leave our heart and soul on the field tomorrow. Our corner plays are exemplary; our skills are honed to perfection. We’ve scouted the other team and adapted our defense to their play. The only thing left to do at this point is work harder than the other team; want it more than them from the first whistle to the last. 

I’ve come to realize that sticking through the moments of doubt and pushing through the most difficult practices made me stronger

I lie in bed for hours, every possible scenario that could occur takes over my imagination and before I know it, it’s the morning of Nov. 19, 2016. This is it, the final day.

Ally picks me up even earlier than usual and we drive to school to wait for the bus to take us to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the car full with nervous excitement and intense anticipation. All that I could smell was the aroma of damp trees and strong black coffee. The parking lot is empty and we sit in silence, listening only to the birds and the rustling trees outside the window as I sit there and taste my Pure Protein chocolate peanut butter bar. The sun is just rising, and I watch it through a drop of water on the windshield in front of me. It feels surreal.

I think back to all the times I thought I was going to lose a limb from being sore. There were moments I wished I’d never started playing, when I wanted nothing more but to walk away and never come back. I’ve come to realize that sticking through the moments of doubt and pushing through the most difficult practices made me stronger. I learned the true meaning of integrity: maintaining my character and my work ethic through the utmost adversity.

I learned the true meaning of hard work: always doing my absolute best, not only for myself, but for my team as well; and most of all, I learned what it means to never give up. When my legs were shaking so badly I thought I couldn’t keep running, when I was so tired I thought I couldn’t breathe, when I felt like there was no way I could keep going, I did.

The bus ride felt like nine hours when it was only one. One second the whistle is blowing to start the game and the next it’s over. The game started and it was back and forth the entire time. I received the ball and put my head up and there were five opponent players in front of me, my body had filled with adrenaline and a lot of confidence. I thought, “Go for it.”

I started dribbling and went past five of the players ahead of me, each of them seemed impossible, but then I was on the ground. What happened was the girl tripped me and then got called for a penalty shot. At this time it was now our chance to get ahead of them by a goal. We scored we’re jumping in the air, hugging each other with tears of joy streaming down our faces.

My coach ran over to me first hugging me with excitement she whispered in my ear, “That was the key to this game, you caused that penalty shot.” I stood there with mixed emotions, obviously extremely happy but in absolute shock. The majority of our high school was there in support with so much pride.

After this I understand what it means to be a champion. Every sacrifice, every struggle, every day we questioned our own abilities, it was all worth it. The lessons that I learned through this journey have shaped me into a better version of myself. I will never forget this moment on the field. It was completely surreal.

–March 26, 2017–