One More Year

Senior Jill Rizzo

A few weeks ago, like many other teams across the country, I saw everything we have sacrificed and worked so hard for come to an abrupt end. We had been practicing for our first conference game when we found out that it would no longer be happening. As a senior I understood that my time at Ohio State was going to come to an end, but it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Everyone was feeling all kinds of emotions, but like always, our team leaned on one another with so much love and support, and we continued playing together one last time. Or so I thought…

 

The days that followed gave me a ton of time to reflect on my time as a Buckeye. I have met so many amazing people along the way that have helped me see things from new perspectives and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. I have learned so much through my sport and in the classroom, which helped me understand who I am as an individual and has given me the ability to carry myself with a greater sense of strength and confidence. I felt proud of my team. We faced a lot of change this year but together we established what we wanted our culture to look like and every day they pushed to live up to those standards. Mostly, I felt so blessed to have a group of people in my life that made saying goodbye so difficult.

"I felt so blessed to have a group of people in my life that made saying goodbye so difficult."

That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to wear the Scarlet & Grey for one more year. I can’t thank Mr. Gene Smith enough for his genuine care for us student-athletes and for the tremendous leadership he has exemplified during this time of so many unknowns. I also commend his investment in people like Janine Oman and the rest of our team’s support staff who have gone above and beyond to help us be successful both on and off the field.

Our coaching staff- Amy, Kristin, Kara, and Steph- I can’t thank you all enough for welcoming us with such love and care, making it so easy to gain your trust, pushing us to be better than we were yesterday, and for being amazing female role models. It was sad knowing that I would only have one year with you guys, but now I couldn’t be more excited to continue what we have started. This situation really affirmed that I am at the most elite institution in the country.

While I am looking forward to getting back to work with my teammates, it is a little bittersweet to not finish with the entire senior class. To those seniors who have become my sisters- thank you for always being there for me and giving me so many amazing memories I will cherish forever. Your support through all of this means so much to me, and I can’t wait to watch you all excel in the next part of your personal journeys.

Last but certainly not least, my entire family. Thank you for helping me through this time, believing in me, and supporting me from the very beginning- couldn’t have done it without you.

The past few weeks have been filled with many emotions and unknowns. Without diminishing what we have experienced, our current reality is much bigger than us as athletes. I have found comfort and inspiration in the care, unity, service, and valor exemplified by so many during these trying times. The severity of this situation has put a lot of things into perspective for me and has made me truly understand how fortunate I am. With a greater sense of purpose and drive, I am really looking forward to lifting that jersey over my head and competing with my teammates one more time.