Lauren Vassallo goes inside the Lions den

by Beacon Staff • November 29, 2006

The adjustment I had to go through was cruel; the atmosphere, the classes, and the team were all changes I had to deal with.

And coming into basketball season not knowing what to expect, I was nervous.,Let's just put this out there, as blunt and true as possible: being a transfer student-athlete sucks.

The adjustment I had to go through was cruel; the atmosphere, the classes, and the team were all changes I had to deal with.

And coming into basketball season not knowing what to expect, I was nervous.

I've been playing basketball for as long as I can remember. Coming into the season, I had a train wreck of thoughts running through my head.

My last season in New Hampshire consisted of a league championship (with a ring to prove it) and a trip to the NCAA tournament. And here I was, coming into this new school with no idea about the girls on the team, the coach or what expectations everyone had of me.

Pre-season was the toughest thing I've had to deal with thus far.

It began with pick-up games, run by the team captains.

On the day of the first game, anxious, excited and nervous, I entered the new gym, sneakers in hand. I didn't know who I was going to guard or how my shooting would be or how I would communicate with the girls on the team.

Soon enough, though, the girls were beginning to get to know me, as a player and as a friend, and in turn, I was beginning to get to know my teammates. Then, the first day of practices rolled around.

I hit the court. Little did I know how hard I'd hit it.

Cut to our second scrimmage in preseason.

We were facing Eastern Nazarene. Our team had played well in our first scrimmage against Clark, so I was excited to see what tricks we had up our sleeve for Eastern Naz. Plus, after practicing for close to a month, having some game-like situations was a lot more fun.

We were preparing for our first real game for the next weekend, our tip-off tournament in New Jersey. The real deal was upon us and I knew I had to work extra hard to prepare myself physically and mentally.

It was only the first five minutes into the scrimmage when it happened. Jumping in the air to get a steal, the ball fell into my hands easily. But I landed harder than I expected. My right ankle rolled as I came down.

Immediately, I felt a sharp pain and I swore as I tried to hold back my tears.

As much pain as I was in physically, the mental anguish was worse as I sat on the sidelines and watched my team play without me. I told myself I would play in the tip-off tournament no matter what.

The weekend came and the trainer taped me up with more tape then I could imagine. My swollen and bruised ankle was feeling sore, but not sore enough where I couldn't play.

I guess that's just the athlete in me: I play because I love to, and I want to help my team out as much as I can.

As for being a transfer student-athlete, it was definitely hard at first.

But as the school year and the season continues to roll on, things are getting easier. And it helps to have people support you.

So I want to thank everyone who has been trying to make me feel more a part of this school and more a part of the team.