Bouncing Back

By Dylan Pallonetti

In the world of athletics, injuries are almost as inevitable as the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

They are an unwelcome companion, ready to pounce at the most unexpected moments.

Yet, it’s not the injuries that define athletes, but rather how we navigate these setbacks and emerge stronger on the other side.

For me, injuries have been a part of the game.

My journey through the world of lacrosse has been marked by resilience and a relentless pursuit of success.

The physical demands of the sport often test the limits of an athlete’s body, and I am no exception.

A wear-and-tear injury, a nagging reminder of the toll this game can take, became a part of my story.

It started in the fall of last year, a small hiccup that had the potential to derail my passion for the game.

But instead of succumbing to the adversity, I chose to play through it, embracing the pain as a testament to my love for lacrosse.

From hockey to lacrosse

Lacrosse wasn’t always the focal point of my athletic journey.

In my early years, hockey was my first love.

Growing up in a community where lacrosse thrived, I initially picked up the stick at an indoor facility, surrounded by friends eager to introduce me to this fast-paced and physical game.

However, my heart belonged to hockey, and I immersed myself in roller and ice hockey throughout my youth.

It took the guidance of a coach, who also happened to be a friend’s dad, to convince me to stick with lacrosse.

The transition from hockey to lacrosse wasn’t instantaneous.

In the beginning, my affinity for hockey overshadowed the new sport I was venturing into.

But as I continued to attend sessions and play through the initial doubts, I discovered the similarities between the two games.

The fast-paced nature, the physicality – lacrosse had its own unique charm that gradually won me over.

By second and third grade, I found myself enamored with the game, realizing that I had developed a genuine love for lacrosse.

Arriving at Stony Brook

Fast forward to the present, and I find myself at Stony Brook, an amazing chapter in my lacrosse career.

I chose Stony Brook for a fresh start and a deep connection with the coaching staff.

Coach Gilardi, Coach Channy, and Coach Brazel shared a vision that resonated with me, not just for on-field success but also for personal and post-collegiate growth.

It felt like the right move, a decision grounded in the belief that this environment would foster my development as a player and as an individual.

I’ve seen it pay off in lacrosse and life.

Being recognized as one of the most prolific scorers in the nation is an honor that speaks to the countless hours spent honing my skills, the early mornings in the training room, and the commitment to excellence from my coaches and teammates.

The transition from hockey to lacrosse wasn't instantaneous. In the beginning, my affinity for hockey overshadowed the new sport I was venturing into. But as I continued to attend sessions and play through the initial doubts, I discovered the similarities between the two games. The fast-paced nature, the physicality – lacrosse had its own unique charm that gradually won me over.

Looking forward to my last season

As I approach my last year at Stony Brook, the goals for the upcoming season are clear. The bitter taste of falling short in the previous year’s conference championship fuels our team drive.

The focus is on securing the title this year, a mission that unites the team in purpose and determination.

We aim to overcome the hurdles, learn from past experiences, and emerge victorious, leaving a lasting legacy for Stony Brook lacrosse.

In the midst of team goals, there’s a personal commitment to leadership.

Last fall I took on the role of a mentor, guiding younger players, and fostering a sense of unity within the team.

Creating an environment where everyone feels supported and connected is as crucial as any individual achievement.

It’s about being there for my teammates, both on and off the field, and contributing to a culture of accountability, effort, and toughness – the core values that define our team motto, “eat effort.”

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through victories, defeats, and unexpected challenges, is to control what you can control.

During my sophomore year, because we were changing conferences, we were restricted from the conference tournament.

This experience taught me the importance of adapting to circumstances beyond our control.

The ability to focus on our response rather than dwelling on external events became a valuable life lesson, transcending the boundaries of the lacrosse field.

Life after lacrosse

Looking beyond my final season at Stony Brook, my plans for life after college are taking shape.

The transition to a professional career is on the horizon, with hopes to work in Manhattan.

I’ll graduate with a major in multidisciplinary studies, which has equipped me with a diverse skill set in sociology, business, and politics.

In my fifth year, I’ve been studying coaching, with the goal that it will serve me, however I try to stay involved in lacrosse down the road.

Until then, I still have one more season to give this team my absolute all.

We have a lot of unfinished business to take care of, and I look forward to chasing that down with my teammates by my side.

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