2017 William Smith Athletics Banquet: Karoline Loretan

2017 William Smith Athletics Banquet: Karoline Loretan


And now it is my great pleasure to begin
our celebration of our Heron class of 2017 to provide remarks on behalf of the
class of 2017 I am proud to introduce to you this year’s Melissa Mulligan award
winner rower Karoline Loretan Michael Jordan once said that fear is often just an illusion now with all due respect to one of the greatest basketball players
of our time I don’t agree because I know for certain
that for over 275 female athletes gathered in this room for their families,
coaches, for the dozens of community members gathered here tonight, fear is a
very real very scary thing we fear pain, suffering, we fear loss,
being alone, we fear rejection, injury mistakes, we fear 2k erg tests and six K
runs, pressure free throws basketball wind sprints and the singles match the
determines the team’s win or loss we fear challenge matches that determine
our position on the team we fear that first tee shot at tournament, the
Manchester the 21 club we fear vo2max bright and early on the first day of pre
reason and the start of the first sailing regatta we also fear defining
our culture as the newest William Smith team on campus and it’s funny that that
which we athletes fear the most is often times exactly what we set ourselves up
for it failure we fear not being good enough
that despite giving it our all, our all may not be the best and because we fear
failure sometimes we avoid it all together letting ourselves become
mediocre for the sake of avoiding the possibility of excellence we fear what
we’re capable of one of the greatest things about joining a collegiate sport
whether you were a recruit or walk-on is that you have no idea what you’re
capable of beyond high school and you don’t expect too much of yourself at
first I have a vivid memory of going into my first ever 2k erg test it was
my sophomore year and I had graduated from novice to varsity surrounded by
dozens of the fittest most mentally tough human beings I had ever met and
because it was my first real 2k I held no standard for myself all I knew was
that if it didn’t hurt it probably wasn’t doing it right and under no
circumstances besides fainting or death was I allowed to get up in the days
leading up to the test I remember hearing older girls around me
announcing that they already wanted to throw up and that they weren’t
mentally ready for the pain instead of embracing the upcoming tests as an
opportunity to see how fast these girls had become they were crippled by fear
and there I was in the middle of all of this already terrified of something with
which I had nothing to lose on the day of the test I waltzed into the office of
my former teammate and current assistant coach Libby Hughes and I said I’m
freaking out Libby with an empty 2K testing sheet in my hand she goes well why is that and I looked at her for a little bit and I said well everybody else is
freaking out and anybody who knows Libby knows what the following is a very Libby-esque response she said wait no that’s awesome with a huge smile and I stood
there staring at her like she had three heads how could somebody who seemed so mentally stable possibly respond to such a life-or-death situation it’s good to
be nervous she said it’s basically I think the same thing as excitement it’s
just adrenaline free speed go get it although
I clearly didn’t get the response that I wanted and I didn’t get a nice pat on
the back telling me that everything would be okay I realized I had no other
choice I was going to 2k and it would probably hurt and it did a lot there are
a few tears and some mental debates that started something like who invented this
sport but what I learned from the second my final time flashed in front of that
screen was that nothing not fear not even a walk-on label could define my
success I was liberated from any standard I was a walk-on I had no time
to beat no seat to race into no number no goal whatsoever I had no fear of
failure because I didn’t know what that looked like all I knew was that if I didn’t feel like I had given 100% by the end of
those 2000 meters then I would have been the biggest failure on that entire team
regardless of my final time so when Libby congratulated me and said wow that was pretty good for your first 2K it clicked I could do this now as a senior
rower I have a constant sworm of numbers in my head telling me what I should be
going or what I could be going if I did X or what I could have done if I changed
Y I find that those numbers are restricting we put ourselves in boxes
because we think that’s what we’re capable of we compare stats, assists, goals, points, matches, won and lost from this season to last season because that’s who
you are but it’s not truth is the box that you put yourself in is much bigger
than you believe and your capacity for greatness is even bigger than that but
the problem is that the fear of breaking out of that box can seem just as big on
my weakest days I try to channel the rower who had no idea what success felt or looked like I try to imagine what I would act like
what numbers I would see if I didn’t set a number to my name and what I found is
that fear as Libby reminded me is actually pretty darn cool fear is what
reminds us that we’re pushing ourselves that we’re growing that we’re expanding that comfort zone if I ever sit down to 2k and feel no fear whatsoever I’ll know
that that goal isn’t high enough that I can reach higher a day you feel no fear
is a day that you’re cheating yourself because facing failure when you’re aim is
set to the moon is a million times better than sitting on solid ground and so my
challenge to you is to listen to Eleanor Roosevelt instead of Michael Jordan
because she said to do one thing every day that scares you if you see numbers
that you’ve never seen before go faster if you score a thousand career
points score again if you’ve already beaten every team in the Liberty League
and you have a million trophies to prove it ask for more if you find yourself in
Lane three with open water go farther and if you’ve seniors as proud William
Smith women find yourself shattering glass ceilings keep climbing because
there is no label and there will never be a limit and you come up the fear of
erasing the limits cripple you or you can let it propel you because fear is
the only thing that reminds us that we’re challenging ourselves that we’re
asking for more and that we are slowly but surely breaking down every barrier
to success

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *