When I started college, I played field hockey. I played for four years in high school, and although I wasn’t a fantastic goalie I was passionate and I enjoyed it and even won some MVP awards along the way. But when I went to college, I didn’t want to play. I wanted a chance to get to know people and go to parties – something I never did in high school – and audition for plays. I told my parents I’d pick it up again sophomore year, after I’d had a chance to adjust. But my parents, my mother in particular I remember, insisted that I play. They said if I didn’t play my first year, I’d never play again, which is interesting advice from two people who never played high school or college sports, but because I was a good girl and because I started to worry that they were right I joined the team.
Carrie Meyer was one of the senior captains. She was, like most of the women on the team, a great player, and incredible scholar, and beautiful to boot. I was used to girls like that in high school (well, not exactly like that. I certainly wouldn’t have called them scholars.) who’d been shitty to me, so it didn’t occur to me to expect anything different. Carrie, though, was kind. She treated everyone on the team like they were valuable, she didn’t roll her eyes or have much bad to say about anyone. She smiled a lot. She was positive even when we were losing or fighting or were just stressed because holy crap is it hard to play sports and go to college at the same time.
This isn’t some great redemption story. Carrie didn’t take me under her wing and bring me out of my shell. She didn’t practice with me at 2am and make me a star player. I was a crappy player but I stuck it out because you don’t just quit a team. In the end, of course, I did quit the team, toward the end of the season, because my grades suffered and I was miserable and the goalie who had just transferred from Wake Forest deservedly got most of the field time.
This is just a story to say: one time I met a girl named Carrie. She was kind. And she died this week. I can’t stop thinking of her family, of her husband and three daughters, one of whom is newborn. I made Eli’s lunch this morning and thought what a menial boring task I get to do for the next 17 years that she’ll never get to do again. What beautiful adventures await her family that she’ll miss. And how much her family, in blood and in friendship and in Randolph-Macon, will miss her.
The world is down a little kindness with her loss. So I’m going to work hard to be a little kinder to make up for it. To put a little more into the world of what was taken when she left. I hope you do the same.