Costa Rica ’17: The Video

Video by Nicky Mullen, Words by Matt Bond

It’s difficult to sum up in a few words all that we experienced on our trip. The first few days after a trip like this can be magical as the memories and moments float through our minds. We instantly recall the larger moments – playing lacrosse, painting a wall, creating art with children. But over the next few days, the smaller details and minor recollections – conversations over meals, playing in the waves, meeting new friends – will begin to cement themselves in our hearts and add to the tapestry of an unforgettable experience.

When we stepped off the plane, many of us still had lingering sand from Playa Samara on our sandals and shoes, dirt under our fingernails, or stubborn paint that refused to wash off. As we move away from our trip, these tangible mementos will eventually wash off and we’ll be left with images and experiences that are now part of our life stories. As I told our players at our final team meeting, my hope for them is that they would return home changed, different in some way however large or small. When we serve as part of a team, we’re able to experience the best version of ourselves, the kind of people we want to be and we get a glimpse of the person we hope to become – kind, patient, flexible, open, empathetic, compassionate.

I would encourage every player to talk openly with their families and friends about the trip. Share photos and stories, however small or trivial. Memories will emerge and cement themselves as you talk about them. Ultimately, as stories and memories sift through our minds and coalesce, we will find meaning behind them. From meaning, we can discover direction and purpose. Life purpose comes at the intersection of our deep passion and the world’s deep hunger. Our players now have experience in using one of their passions (lacrosse) to help make a difference in the world. This skill is transferable to other arenas. I told our players that pursuing your interests and passions doesn’t have to be a selfish, myopic pursuit. As they move forward in high school and into college, they’ve experienced that “success” in pursuing a passion and serving others are not mutually exclusive. We can find a way to leverage our unique gifts and talents in sports, academics, friendships, jobs, etc to make the world and the people around us better. IMHO, this is a key to a deep, rich, joyful, and meaningful life.

My hope is that maybe in some small way this trip has contributed to some kind of transformation or revelation in the hearts of our players and that the experience would leave them with a clearer idea of how to use their unique talents and gifts to influence the people around them in positive ways wherever they find themselves in the future.