By Dan Dovale
Western Connecticut State University senior, Destinee Carey, from New Milford, Connecticut, was born to play and dominate the sports world of Women’s Lacrosse. Carey found her destiny in the fifth grade, “as soon as I started playing, I knew it was something I would continue for a very long time. It became my favorite sport and ultimately the one I chose to pursue.”
This pursuit began with passion, work ethic, and pure will power. Motivated by coaches, parents, and teammates, there is no limitation to Carey’s aspiration. As she has found both personal and team success here at Western Connecticut State University, she has also seen growth in herself while reminiscing back on her high school days.
“The biggest area where I’ve grown is my mentality and attitude,” she said. “With the rise of competition in college, I quickly learned that my mentality will shape my ability to succeed as an athlete. So, I learned to adapt a winning mentality, which has helped me succeed through every good and bad day I experience as an athlete.”
Not only has this growth been a necessity on the field, but maybe even more so, for off the field. The challenges and sacrifices that await a student athlete are often times overlooked and discredited. College itself can create mountains for students to climb in preparation for the next phase of life.
“Often time’s people do not realize that you spend your whole day in classes, go to practice or games, eat and then trying to find time to get all of your work done, is a vicious cycle.” Carey said, “Hard work and time management are the two most important things when it comes to being a student athlete. It’s an adjustment to juggle school and sport but you can make it work and still be successful.”
Although the daily process may get tiring and overwhelming, Carey has not once felt a moment of regret towards any single action that has led her down this path.
“This whole experience for me has all been worth it. Through it all, every practice, test, game, assignment, I learned something new and being a student athlete has given me the tools needed in order to be successful in life,” Carey confidently explained. “I think this sport has taught me great things, it has shaped me into the person I am today and taught me how to be the best person both on and off the field.”
As she prepares to finish out this last season as a Colonial, she will continue to be appreciative and thankful for this sport and how it has evolved with her, even after she graduates. Moreover, while Carey holds an athletic resume that is bound to stitch her name in WCSU Women’s Lacrosse history, she remains hopeful this is not the end for her athletic career.
As for life after graduation, Carey said she, “hope[s] to become a graduate Assistant Coach somewhere to continue with lacrosse, to help teach and show other players that this sport can bring a lot of great things for them, too.”
From fifth grade to her senior year of college, Carey has pursued her greatest passion and reached levels of success that can only be met through mentality, work ethic, and will as strong as Destinee Carey’s. From the received enthusiasm on our latest article on Carey, we at the Echo have found it to be clearly evident that this (hopefully soon to be) Assistant Coach has been much loved be the community and will be greatly missed.
By Dan Dovale
There’s an aspect of sports that doesn’t receive the same recognition and respect as others do, which is; Women do this too. Men are shown the most love and attention when it comes to athletics, it’s widely more popular and seemingly appreciated.
The Connecticut Lady Huskies have been popular due to being dominant, winning championships and the never before seen 111 game win streak which gained a little bit of everyone’s attention. But how often do we hear about or gain interest in women’s soccer, WNBA, women’s lacrosse, etc. What will cause a change in the eye of the public?
“I think there could always be improvements when it comes to this. I would love for there to be more attention/love for women’s sports, women’s lacrosse and I know that with success this will all come,” Destinee Carey said.
Carey, a senior Women’s Lacrosse player at WCSU is enjoying some success of her own during her college career. Several WCSU WLAX career records are in jeopardy due to Carey’s pursuit. She’s nearing the points (258), goals (205) and free position goals (39) records. She’s within striking distance of each as she’s registered 254 points, 200 goals and 36 free position goals.
When an athlete finds success in the chase of their dream, many wonder what prior sports figure did they mold their game after, or what role model they looked up to for inspiration which helped influence them in this journey? The expectation is a celebrity, athlete or someone seen on the television while growing up. What’s overlooked is, that person may just be that athletes first love, the love that came before the sport, the love who is her greatest supporter to this day.
“My Father has been my biggest influence both on and off the field,” Carey said. “He’s been my biggest motivator, my biggest fan in all 11 years I’ve played lacrosse and I know without him I wouldn’t be half as successful.”
Since entering the program surpassing these records was a long term goal of Carey’s and as she’s destined to do so, it brings on a, “surreal feeling,” but one that will show, “all this hard work and dedication will truly have paid off,” she said.
Although setting a goal of such high standards, Carey never let it affect or differentiate how she played and approached team success; “I never played with the intentions of breaking records, I played to win games and try to win a championship. Playing for Westerns Women’s Lacrosse we always say ‘play for the girl next to you.’”
Consistency may be the most important attribute in sports and it’s one she has mastered. The consistent improvement in her first three years at WCSU stands out. The jump in goals of 77 in her sophomore year after netting 38 her freshman year, shows she earned that trait. A junior year where she scored 52 goals and was named team offensive player of the year, it just adds to a resume of a special talent.
As she continues to chase down history and is on the verge of passing it, when the time comes, as she’s calling her Dad and expressing the sentiments of feeling “flooded with emotions, honored and privileged.”
It’ll remind her of the first time she put on the Colonial jersey, all the blood, sweat and tears, the sacrifices, going the extra mile while believing in herself and her dreams. And ultimately when she walks off the field for the final time and removes the only collegiate jersey she’s ever worn, she’ll have also accomplished the ultimate goal of, “wanting to make an impact on this program.”
Her name will forever be stitched in Western’s Women’s Lacrosse for her historical achievements and ability to raise the bar within the program. And when all is said and done maybe her impact is much more than just the program at WCSU, but adds a step to the ongoing climb that women’s sports is faced with, in receiving the due they’ve earned and deserve.