Former Sports Editor on four years a Wilson athlete

Chiara Purificato

The first time I walked through the aux gym doors I was a naive freshman in my mizuno sneakers, very intimidated but secretly excited and hopeful; I was trying out for the varsity volleyball team. 

After a grueling week of tryouts, Coach Perette pulled me aside. “Chiara,” she began, “You have a lot to work on but we see your potential and want you on our team.” Keyword? Potential. What I lacked in technique, I made up in drive and I was ecstatic to make varsity as a freshman. 

During that first year on the volleyball team, the two of us freshmen knew our place, getting the brunt of ball duty, while learning the team dynamic quickly, and growing as players and athletes.

There are some things I won’t particularly miss from my time as a Wilson athlete: lights going out in the gym, our little furry friends under the bleachers, and posting on my Snapchat story for a game only to have the two friends I forced to come show up. 

That being said, the unique Wilson experience made my time as a Tiger extremely special and there are surely things I will miss dearly. I’ll miss the unmatchable excitement after a big win and all our hype team bus dance parties. I’ll miss feeling cool walking out of 7th or 8th period early for a game. 

But my time as a Wilson athlete doesn’t stop with volleyball, surprisingly. In the spring of my freshman year, I was the classic case of a never-picked-up-a-lacrosse-stick-before rookie. I decided to try out for lacrosse just because all of my best friends were. 

On the JV team, I learned how to actually play lacrosse, and forged friendships with teammates. I also figured out I didn’t actually hate lacrosse, and as many people began to drop out over the next few years I decided to stick with it.

Volleyball has always been my main sport and lacrosse was more laidback for me. I knew I would never be the best, but it was fun and that’s what mattered. Moving up to varsity meant more commitment and more dreaded 6 a.m. practices.

I tried to see the positives in those insufferable early morning practices though, like getting the gourmet Panera coffee with my friends after practice, or hearing the lovely noise of that one shower in the girls locker room that won’t stop dripping… ever. 

Back in freshman year, I picked out a random locker. It still has my stuff in it because, contrary to the advice I received, I left shoes and gear in there all the time. Because of the pandemic, I haven’t opened it in over a year. At some point when I do get back in the locker room, it will be a lovely surprise to see what’s in there. 

To this day, I remember that the inside of the locker door was inscribed with a little  message, written in Sharpie, saying something like “I’ve had this for three years” with a past athlete’s initials. Maybe if I ever make it back into the building, I can sneak into the locker room, hopefully remember my combination, collect my things, and write my own “I’ve had this for four years” message for the next Wilson athlete. •