Four years ago, during Macy Day’s senior year of high school, she was a five-sport athlete. She was a member of the soccer, lacrosse, basketball, swim, and track teams—after not playing any sports her freshman and sophomore years.
“I was trying to make up for lost time,” said Day, now a senior at Emerson who has played three sports for the college. “I’ll do anything athletic, honestly.”
Day has played basketball and lacrosse for all four years as a Lion, and joined the tennis team, when it was undermanned, for her junior year.
But after an ACL injury on Jan. 5 during basketball practice, Day’s senior basketball and lacrosse seasons prematurely ended.
“There’s not a day that I don’t wake up where I don’t have something sports-related,” said Day, a marketing communication major. “It’s part of my routine and has been for four years, so I think that’s why this is so difficult. It’s a devastating injury in general, but it’s really difficult for me because I don’t really identify with anything else at Emerson, because that’s who I am, a student-athlete.”
Despite the injury, head women’s basketball coach Bill Gould said Day’s outlook about the team has stayed the same.
“[She] hasn’t said, ‘Woe is me, this sucks, or how could this happen,’” said Gould. “What she did is that she continued to do exactly what she was doing—there was no change in who she was.“
Day has been a captain on both the lacrosse and basketball teams the past two seasons. Originally recruited to play soccer and lacrosse at Emerson, Day said she realized the former wasn’t going to work out after playing for a few weeks her freshman year. She said she joined basketball to fill the void that leaving soccer had left.
“As the first few weeks went by, I started to get a little bored,” said Day. “I decided to email coach Gould for basketball around September of my freshman year. I told him I was 5-foot-10, and I played basketball for two years.”
After walking onto the 2011-2012 team that had just eight other players on its roster, Gould said he noticed Day’s athleticism.
“She’s always had a lot of strength,” said Gould, who has coached Day for all four of her seasons on the team. “I think she was inexperienced, not just because she was a freshman, but she was just an inexperienced basketball player on a collegiate team. She had a lot of room for growth, and she worked hard.”
In her freshman year on the basketball team, Day appeared in 14 of the team’s 24 games. She was named the most improved player, according to the Emerson Athletics website.
“She epitomizes what Division III is all about,” said Gould. “She wants to participate, she wants to be involved, she wants to compete, but at the same time, recognizes this is more about involvement in the community rather than being on ESPN.”
Kelsey Johnson, a junior on the basketball team, said Day’s presence is invaluable.
“Our team wouldn't be the same without her,” said Johnson, a forward. “She's the most unselfish and kindest person to play with on the court.”
But when lacrosse season starts, Day said her role would shift drastically.
“I start every game, depending on when basketball would flow into lacrosse season,” said Day, who is a lacrosse defender. “I knew I had a spot that was very necessary on the field. It’s an intense position to go from being a bench role to a starter role. It’s definitely a mental change.”
Last year, the basketball team’s last game was on Feb. 22, and the lacrosse season had its first match on Feb. 28. Gould said was impressed by how well Day handled the transition.
“I think if you said, ‘Macy, you’re not allowed to do anything,’ it would freak her out,” said Gould. “I think part of it is is that’s just in her makeup—she finds a way to get it done, and she always does. If we had a light practice in basketball, she would go and do something with lacrosse.”
Johnson, a marketing communication major, agreed with Gould.
“Macy loves each sport and would do anything for either of those teams,” said Johnson. “She keeps smiling and never complains.”
And Day has brought that positive attitude into her recovery, too, said Johnson.
“Any other person would be defeated and depressed,” said Johnson. “She's been such a great teammate and even though she can't play, she's always encouraged us to do our best and play our hardest. She takes everything in stride.”
After undergoing surgery at the end of January, Day has still been going to practice, despite her crutches and brace. Gould said he’s seen no change in his captain’s leadership.
“She’s been a kid who’s been an ambassador to the whole department,” said Gould. “She’s such a positive influence, and I’m happy to have had her as a part of our program for four years.”
Though Day can’t play out her senior seasons, she said she’s looking past the setback and plans on keeping up her active lifestyle past graduation.
“[If] you think about it in the long run, I’m not lifelong injured,” she said. “I can keep playing after this; it’s just the timing that makes it so difficult. I still am on the teams, and no one has treated me any differently. I give my teammates a lot of credit for allowing nothing to change even though I can’t keep playing.”