The 2019 Rams Reflect is the third in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of Suffolk teams have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Suffolk.
For a complete listing of past and present Rams’ Reflections, click here.
Shannon Smith | Hometown: Tewksbury, Mass. | Business
Looking back on how I got here, I think it was absolutely meant to be. My freshman year of college I transferred out of the University of Rhode Island with no plans for which university I was going to attend in the second semester. I was only accepted to two universities for the upcoming semester, and I chose Suffolk for the ideal Boston location. Before I began classes at Suffolk, I decided to email Coach Leyden to see if it was possible to be a part of the team. At this point, I haven’t played basketball since the end of my senior year of high school. Coach Leyden agreed to meet with me, and told me he’d let me practice only because of one spot that opened up the day before. I remember going to my first practice beyond nervous, I didn’t know a single person and it was during the middle of the team’s season. That day I left practice with 13 new best friends. I’ve never met a more welcoming, close-knit group of people. I left practice that day not only extremely sore, but knowing how much of a blessing the opportunity was going to be.
From then on I’ve been here every day since. The daily routine of walking to Ridgeway from the North End. Making the critical stops at both 711 and Dunkin Donuts. Hanging out on LM for hours on end, and praying that our laundry is done before the start of practice; then doing it all over again the next day. The long bus rides, pregame ritual, asking “who’s number” when throwing out uniforms every game, enthusiastically receiving meal money, and the famous van rides all show the clarity of the experience. As crazy as it all sounds, these small things have completely shaped the last four years into memories that’ll carry with me forever, along with my incredible teammates who made these memories special.
The teammates I had at Suffolk are by far the most talented, passionate, and driven teammates I’ve ever had. I’ve been lucky enough to have teammates that have ice in their veins; and that chip on their shoulder that pushes everyone to be the best they can be. Learning from them the past four years has impacted me more than they know. I’ve learned that people don’t remember the good game you had or the bad play you made. People remember what it was like to spend every single drill, practice, bus ride, win or loss with you. They remember the attitude and spirit that you bring every day. For me, it was never about being the star player that scored the most points or played the minutes. It was about being the best teammate. Make every day about being the best teammate, not the best player.
It’s crazy how a sport can make you feel so many emotions you never thought you would, but what’s even harder is trying to describe them. It never made sense to a lot of people why I would dedicate so much time to basketball. The hours we spend that comprise of success, competition, hard work, and failure. The kind of hours that make your team feel like family. There’s no better feeling than that.
I’m insanely grateful for my experience as a Suffolk athlete. I’ve created memories that I will never forget, and have met the most amazing people; friends that I’ll have forever. This experience has been truly nothing but special.
My experience wouldn’t have been the same without our amazing assistant coaches Carolyn (Crampton) Rea, Alex Quadri, and Tori Faieta. They’ve dedicated so much time keeping our team level-headed, positive, and making every day more fun than the last. We all appreciate the time you give us, and we look up to you more than you know. I can’t thank you guys enough for how much you’ve helped me the last four years.
Thank you to every player, coach, trainer, and everyone at Suffolk Athletics that makes this opportunity as amazing as it is. I’m beyond thankful for my experience on the Suffolk Women’s Basketball Team.