In Their Own Words: Fifth and Final

Photo by Placide Ilunga
Photo by Placide Ilunga

Sara Vollmerhausen, Fifth Year, York Lions Field Hockey

After playing competitive soccer and basketball for most of my childhood, in high school I decided to try a new sport. I first started to play field hockey in Grade 9, and instantly fell in love with it. I liked how it was different and a new challenge to play a sport with a stick as opposed to my hands and feet.

After my first season playing in high school, I joined the Scarborough Dolphins Field Hockey Club, where I was coached by Zeeshan Minhas, and started to play at a competitive level. Before I knew it, high school was over and I decided to come to York University to continue playing for Zeeshan, who is also the head coach of York’s varsity women’s field hockey team. 

“I would have never thought that August 18, 2018 would come so quickly…”

Even though it took some convincing from Zee, it was one of the best decisions I have made. I would have never thought that I would ever play field hockey at such a competitive level and I would have never thought that August 18, 2018, would come so quickly: the start of my last ever season as a varsity athlete.

Walking into the team locker room that day, I couldn’t believe that five years ago I was sitting in the same room about to start my varsity career. As I sat on the bench going through those final moments of pre-game prep, I couldn’t help but think of everything I’d experienced over the past five years. 

Week-long training camps before the season started, and being so sore you couldn’t wait to jump into the ice bath at the end of a three-hour practice. Pre-season trips playing tough competition in the U.S. and England, bus karaoke, and then being stuck on the road for hours when those busses broke down. The daily training sessions and weekends spent travelling to games. Pulling all-nighters to finish an essay that was due the next morning that you weren’t able to finish because you were training. Being injured, pushing through the pain and setbacks to make it back on the pitch for the next game. Competing at the OUA championship. Losing in the semifinals two seasons in a row and once in the quarterfinals only to repeat the whole process again, but by training even harder to make sure you will end the next season with no regrets.

Playing in the OUA championship on home turf, winning the banner for the first time since 1996. Flying with your team to British Columbia to compete at the U SPORTS national championship against the University of British Columbia. Losing in a three-game series and placing second. Training every day since for nine months straight to make it to August 18, 2018 – the start of your final season. 

“I will play my last season with the hopes of leaving my mark on my team, my program, and my school.”

Looking back at these four years, I ask myself if I have any regrets or if I would have done anything differently. The answer is no. Every game we lost, every shot I missed, and every mistake I made has shaped me into the person that I am today. My setbacks and failures have motivated me to be the best that I can be for my team and I will play my last season with the hopes of leaving my mark on my team, my program, and my school.

What I want to share to all current and incoming student-athletes is that it doesn’t matter if you start your university career without having ever competed at the provincial level or having had exposure to national team programs. What matters is your passion and love for the sport. With hard work and determination, you can do anything you put your mind to. If you are determined to get better, learn from your setbacks, and play every game with pride, I promise that you will finish your varsity career with memories that will last you a lifetime. 

Finally, I want to thank every player that I have practiced and played against for making me better. My teammates (past and present) for always being there for me and making York feel like my second home. My coaches for spending countless hours pushing me to be the best that I can be both on and off the field. And to every York Lion that I’ve crossed paths with for being a key piece to making this the most memorable five years.  

“...every time I step on the field, I feel at home.”

With my last season in full swing, every time I step on the field, I feel at home. It truly is an amazing feeling knowing that field hockey, the school, my teammates, and my coaches have given me so much. Every time I step on the field, I will play with the heart of a lion that has grown inside of me these past five years.

People always say ‘all good things come to end’; however, I don’t believe that. My York Lions family will be with me wherever I go next.