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What it takes to make the cut

by Chris Boutin September 9, 2014

with Excerpts from Tim Lazier

How a new student-athlete is juggling school, sports and life

The varsity season is officially underway, but most of our student-athletes spent the summer working out and getting ready for tryouts. First-year lacrosse player Chris Boutin is no different. He explains what it was like to try out for a Stingers squad and make the team, and how varsity athletes have to juggle a packed schedule.

I started playing lacrosse back in high school, because it made me feel like a part of the school and more than just a student. At first it was just a way to stay in shape and I honestly thought it might be a one-time deal, so I gave it a try.

After that first year, in grade 10, I was hooked. I played again in grade 11 and was not only a starter, but a captain. Heading into my first year at John Abbott College, I had that itch to keep playing. Like all athletes and their respective sports, I just couldn’t wait to get back out on the field. It was something that I wanted to pursue and had the goal of playing at the university level.

Lacrosse isn’t one of Concordia’s most prominent varsity sports, but being under the radar, especially as a first-year player, fit Boutin just fine. The tryouts were held at the Loyola campus during the last weekend of August.

Heading into the tryouts for Concordia’s lacrosse team, I was nervous but also very anxious to get out there. No matter what the sport, student-athletes everywhere know that feeling. It was a new bunch of guys, but they made me feel welcome. After getting the cobwebs out, it was less about nerves and more about just playing the game.

I was confident enough in my abilities and myself to not be timid. Athletes know that if you’re shy and hang in the background, no one will notice you. Tryouts are all about that first impression. I wanted to be outgoing, to be a part of the team. Like many athletes, I just wanted to be a part of something bigger. Knowing that all the players and coaches were there and working toward the same goals was motivating. It was something I had missed for a very long time.

Whether they play on a varsity team or not, all university students have hectic schedules. But between classes, a job, practices, games and homework, there are no days off for student-athletes.

When I first really thought about trying out and potentially playing lacrosse for Concordia, I knew I had to make a choice. My main hours for work are on the weekends, yet all of our games are too. I knew something had to go, but before deciding, I talked to my boss about it.

Boutin works at La Tuilerie, a flooring and tile store in Vaudreuil-Dorion and has been a salesman there since January.

I walked into my boss’s office one day, sat down and explained to him my interest in sports, saying that I’ve always wanted to be a part of a varsity team. Surprisingly, he was very open and encouraged me to go for it. I realized that’s something not all bosses would do. I thought it was generous of him. He understood that sports make you excited about school and fill you with a sense of connection to your school. We worked out a schedule that not only fit my lacrosse schedule, but my class schedule as well.

Boutin is a second-year sociology student at Concordia who aspires to be a professor one day. Now that he has made the team, he is excited to get the season underway, beginning with a road trip to Ontario this past weekend. The Stingers played against Queen’s University on Saturday and then traveled to Trent University on Sunday.

Pure excitement is the best way I can describe being on the team. Heading into this fresh season, I hope our team can come together and be a competitive squad. We’ve been practicing hard these past couple of weeks and we’re all just excited to hit the field. It’s great that we started the season with a road trip. I think it’s the perfect way to build team chemistry, bond a bit and just get to know each other. I know the team struggled last year but this is a new start. Along with the other rookies, I hope I can make an impact.

When I throw on the Stingers jersey for the first time, it’ll give me a sense of pride.

The team’s first home game is on Sept. 13 at Loyola against Carleton.

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