NC: How long have you been on the Gods of Plastic (GOP) team, and what did your path to that position look like?
SW: I’ve been on the team since I was a first year, and, going into my junior year, myself and two seniors were named captains. Going into this year, the captains were Jacob Cohen ’19 and I.
NC: Comparing your time as a player and captain, how has your view of the team changed over the course of your participation in GOP?
SW: First off, it’s been a really phenomenal experience for me to play on this team. I think we do a really good job of playing at a high level while still having a lot of fun, not taking ourselves too seriously and enjoying each other’s company. It’s been fun for me because every year has felt so different based on who’s on the team that year, who has graduated, and who’s coming on. I feel like every year, we’ve kept the same fun spirit while still having it feel like the one before it.
NC: Have there been any times as captain that your leadership responsibility has impeded your ability to view the team as you originally did?
SW: Not really. There are definitely a set of challenges that come with being in a leadership role, but I’ve never felt like it’s stopped me from seeing the team in the way I always have. I think it’s a little different being a part of a club sport that’s entirely student-run than a varsity team, where we’re getting directions from coaches and others. Even though I’m technically captain, all my teammates are still my peers, and it still feels very democratic in nature.
NC: What have been your personal favorite team moments? And what have been the most important moments to the team as a whole?
SW: Thinking recently, we just, a couple weeks ago, had DIII National Championships in Texas, which was probably the most fun tournament I’ve ever been to. We all played really well, and it felt like a great way to end what’s been a great season for us, and a great way for us seniors to end our college careers. Another one that I’ve always thought of is my first year on the team when we won the regional finals at St. John’s to qualify for Nationals, which is something we didn’t think we would do, so that was a really special moment. In terms of developing the team in general, there have been so many great off-the-field moments. I’m really lucky to be part of a group of people I care a lot about. We all care about each other.
NC: Did you have any overarching goals going into your position as captain that you envisioned for the team and, if so, what were they?
SW: Sure. Last year, there were two senior captains, so I had a smaller role in that leadership position, but, this year, a big goal for us, since we graduated a lot of seniors last year, was that we aimed to develop a lot of our players, especially the younger ones, in order to help them fill in those roles. One of the things we were proudest of this season was how much people stepped up to do that. We had a lot of underclassmen this year who really outperformed everybody’s expectations, which was really fun to see.
NC: I’ve noticed, during my time on sports teams and observing other sports teams, that there tends to be a team playlist. Are there any go-to GOP songs?
SW: We’re big fans of ABBA… The song “Shooting Stars”—the one from the meme —is another classic. I’ve got to shout out one of the freshmen on the team, Abi Goldenberg, who, this year, started bringing his speakers to all of our practices and tournaments, which really brought up the hype for us. He’s a great D.J., you want him on the aux cord every time because he always plays the hype songs.
NC: Do you have a personal motto or goal you try to [aspire to] in everything you do?
SW: One thing we said a lot this year was the phrase “intense but loose.” I think someone got it from a Roger Federer quote. It sort of embodies putting everything we have into our play while still staying loose on the sidelines, not getting into our heads, and still playing fearlessly.