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Spending time with the Division I dream

POSTED February 09, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                   Spending time with the Division I dream

            It was the glow of a dream being fulfilled and it permeated the room. The smile had Division I written all over it and the coach’s pride was powerful. All of this coming from a small office at Nonnewaug High School Thursday afternoon.

            Wednesday afternoon had been a big day for those high school athletes talented and fortunate enough to sign national letters of intent to play in college. Nonnewaug’s outstanding field hockey star Alexa Brazauskas was one of the talented ones.

            Brazauskas will take her considerable skills to Boston College graduating from the world of the Chiefs to life as a BC Eagle . A day later the glow of it all was still tangible.

            This is when this job really gets to be fun. I was in the conference room with Brazauskas and Nonnewaug field hockey coach Kathy Brenner.  While the rest of the world was awaiting `Big Blizzard’ of 2013 and in this world, for school to be officially called off, they shared the warmth of accomplishment.

            Most athletes do not play beyond their high school days. Fewer athletes play on a Division I level. In the Berkshire League the number is lower than miniscule. And the media focus is always on football during this signing period.

            Brazauskas is field hockey. She earned her due and she gets her due. She is one of the best, Boston College told her that and all the other fine schools like Yale, Columbia and Holy Cross that sought her talents told her that.

            I have seen Brazauskas a number of times over the last several seasons and she has always been a presence you noticed on the field. She scored the game-winner against Thomaston as Nonnewaug clinched its third BL title in four years this fall.  During her time as a Chief,  Nonnewaug posted a 63-7-3 mark. There is a big correlation here. Her name is on a passel of honors and always part of Brenner’s game assessment.

            She is All-State, NFHCA/Harrow Regional All-American, two-time first team All-State selection and a junior Olympian. As a midfielder her goal total isn’t off the charts but only because of her position not her skills.  Brenner will tell you that if she put Brazauskas on the forward line you would be reading big numbers here.

            But I already knew Brazauskas could play. The fun part of this is getting to sit down to listen and talk to a person that turned the dream into reality. We all dream of making the game-winning shot for a state title, we few ever, ever get to realize the dream.

            The other part from this perspective is getting a brief peak at the person off the field. We go do our thing. We watch them play, we get a few words after the game from the players that figure prominently and then we each go back to our own worlds. The player back to the school life, the media back to games and people.

            Once in a while it is nice to see more.  Who are these people that dominate play, dominate headlines, powering their teams and our stories? What happens when the game is over?

            Brazauskas carries a mesmerizing smile.  On this day certainly fueled by her official agreement to become part of the Boston College family. But, as the conversation occasionally drifted during our 45 minutes or so (my fault), it was evident there was more here than just a happy high school senior signing a letter of intent.

            Brazauskas is a National Honor Society member and State of Connecticut Scholar Athlete. She’s got game but she’s got brain too. Down the road she wants to pursue a career promoting women’s sport. She will lead by example first, but she will be top notch after the stick and corner hits become history. You can tell.

            There is a personable demeanor here that impresses. Whether we were talking about Nonnewaug field hockey, the future at Boston College or the struggle Berkshire League schools are having with numbers, Brazauskas radiated a comfortability with insight.

            Brenner talks glowingly about Brazauskas because she knows it all goes way beyond a field hockey talent.  She says BC is getting the total package here, athletically, scholastically and every other way. “She is what every school is looking for.”

            Spending some time with Brazauskas you get the feel of what Brenner is talking about. Boston College is getting talent and class. After 45 minutes you can tell. Brazauskas gets a scholarship, Boston College gets her.

            Boston College is getting a better deal. It was a fun 45 minutes with a top notch young lady.               

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