Reardon Wrought Support to All Teammates as Valley Field Hockey Captain
Support has been at the center of Abby Reardon’s relationship with the sport of field hockey. She had tremendous encouragement from peers and coaches to grasp the game rapidly, and then she reciprocated by doing the same for younger teammates in helping a young club make major strides in her final foray with Valley.
The Valley Regional field hockey team midfielder and senior captain did multiple sports in her youth, including soccer and ice hockey. Yet she picked up the grass variety of the latter in middle school prior to joining the Warriors as a freshman. This fall, under the backdrop of a youth-laden club, Abby helped lead Valley to five victories and a Class S State Tournament berth.
“I honestly liked how I was not immediately good at it, but I liked working on getting better every single year,” says Abby, who also runs indoor and outdoor track. “My team has helped me succeed; my friends on the team never made me feel bad after making a mistake. They helped me keep moving forward after an error. The coaches this year helped me develop my abilities and my leadership skills, which were very valuable for me.”
As a captain of a youthful bunch, Abby was not so much concerned with Valley’s position within the Shoreline Conference standings, but rather more harping on making sure all members felt included and at home with the Warriors.
“This year was a lot about a rebuilding team with a lot of underclassmen. It was less about winning, and more about developing support and acceptance of the younger players,” Abby says. “My big focus was that everyone felt comfortable and got along and were kind to each other.”
As a mediary between both sides of the ball and the turf, Abby exclaims that it was certainly a test of endurance, but it was an exam she welcomed and passed with flying colors, while being a sort of unsung hero on facilitating tallies and stopping shots.
“I really liked playing midfield because you can support the forwards without being good at scoring, because I do not have the best hit,” says Abby. “I like getting back and defending, and it is like you are playing three positions at once. I like being able to run a lot, and there are positives and negatives to the position, but it is an important one with supporting the rest of the team.”
In terms of her mental maturation and progress of her physical prowess, Abby recalls that one had washed the other when it came to cultivating her own swagger that helped feed her skill set.
“A major piece of athletics is confidence, and I did not have that at first as a freshman,” Abby says. “With the support of my coaches and teammates, I got that piece. And with confidence, it allowed me to unlock all my physical abilities and move with it. I also gained more of an athlete’s mindset and focused more on big picture ideas. I wanted more to help the team develop and win.”
With several girls brand new to the sport starting back in the summer, Abby helped her fellow Warriors garner experience rather quickly, and made that an almost-forgotten time in just a short span of about two and a half months of the campaign.
“I was nervous in the beginning, because I think more than half the girls had never touched a stick before the summer,” says Abby. “But they had natural talent, and by the end of the year, you probably could not tell a lot of the girls had never previously played field hockey. They gained a lot of in-game experience. Everyone on the team had passion for the sport and helping each other. Next year, I have a feeling they will do very well with so many natural athletes.”
Valley field hockey Head Coach Julie Labbadia commends Abby for being an individual who never held back an ounce of her maximum abilities and capacity to captivate a team.
“Abby is such an amazing midfielder. She works the hardest on the field and is consistently playing with urgency,” says Labbadia. “She is always giving 200% effort. She knows how to transfer the ball up field well.”
As Abby has now penned the final chapter on her career with the Valley field hockey program, she explains it was a great coping mechanism to guide her through the normal stresses of high school life, while helping her build up essential life skills for current and future endeavors.
“Sports, especially field hockey, transformed my life. Sports were a wonderful outlet to help forget about things going on in my life. I was able to compartmentalize on one thing with my friends on the field. I also made several long-term friends through field hockey,” says Abby. “I learned how to have confidence in myself, how to work for others, and how to lead. I am co-President of the Environmental Club at Valley, and I am so much more comfortable in that position because of field hockey.”