From teammates to opponents

My experience playing co-op vs. high school lacrosse


Used with permission by Scott Berry

Abby Bartleson

Since fourth grade I have been playing lacrosse. This sport has always been a big part of my family and I’s lives, especially now that my younger brother plays lacrosse as well. For every spring that rolls around, the season starts up again and you can catch me on the field with my stick. 

However, the people that surround me during the season haven’t always been consistent. In my younger years of playing, Park decided to co-op with Hopkins due to their lack of girls registering for the sport. This meant that I got the chance to play with a ton of new faces and build friendships with girls who went to Hopkins schools, but this changed when I hit seventh grade. During this transitional period, the lacrosse program changed from playing with the association to just playing through the middle school. 

While playing co-op with Hopkins, it brought a lot of memorable experiences for me as a young girl. While the playing itself wasn’t very competitive, my teammates (as well as their parents from the sidelines) and I would always push each other to do better on the field. We knew that we could trust each other on and off the field and I remember going to certain girls because I knew they’d be able to boost my spirits. Our main coaches were also spectacular, I felt close with both of them and we got to participate in a lot of team bonding because of them.

I have vivid memories of going to tournaments bright and early, super far away, and it always seemed like playing the actual games of lacrosse were the least fun. Instead, the fun part was getting the opportunity to build a strong community.. We would file into countless booths and push together tables so we could share a meal after playing our games. I remember being super excited every time the weather started to warm up and the snow began to melt because that meant it was lacrosse season and I got to hang out with some of my favorite friends. 

In contrast, high school lacrosse runs a little differently. Now that I play just through the school, we have to face off against Hopkins, which consists of all of my past teammates. It’s a weird feeling because at some point I was really close with a lot of these girls but now I don’t really talk to any of them. In public, I get the occasional “hi” but our relationships are nothing like they were when we were younger. 

While I feel close to some of my current teammates my age, a huge positive that I’ve experienced this year as well as last year is building relationships with the underclassmen. I’ve been claimed as “mom” of the team recently since I always have snacks ready as well as being prepared to give rides to and from games and practices. I will always value my experiences of playing co-op with Hopkins as they were a large part of my childhood but I do really enjoy playing with the younger girls and occasionally reuniting with past teammates when we do play against them.