May 6, 2013
By Matthew Pearce
One Team One Dream was the motto the Georgia equestrian team came into the season believing would help them achieve their goal of a first ever SEC Championship and National Championship double. The Bulldogs fell agonizingly short of those dreams; the senior class, however, is already looking back on their careers at the University fondly.
“I have a lot of favorite memories when it comes to the team, a lot of them have to do with annoying Coach M (Meghan Boenig). However, I think one of the best memories I have of the team is having breakfast or lunch or dinner with the hunt seat girls before each meet and taking the time out of their busy weeks to all get together and talk about everything that’s going on and talking about things non horse related,” Carly Anthony said. “These girls are like sisters now and that is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
After winning the national championship their freshman season, the senior class finished second in every national championship competition they have competed in since. Hunt Seat rider Grace Rogers believes that, while her class was unable to achieve a national championship double in their time at Georgia, the class gained much more than national acclaim through their success.
“I like to think of our class as one of those characters you find yourself personally attached to after watching them face certain adversity, the kind that you can't help but root for because you know how much they went through. Well, our story has a heartbreaking end, but leaves the audience satisfied because they know their heroine(s) gained so much more than a win could even offer,” Rogers said. “They gained conviction, patience, honor, life-long friendships, wisdom, and self-actualization which was all pulled out of them from the adversity they faced and not the trophy they failed to bring home. The processes of keeping that tunnel vision filled with belief and ambition while ignoring all the negative words within your head and the mouths of the people that surround you, that sets you up for life. That says, I don't need a trophy to tell me I'm a winner, I'll be one anyways.”
Rogers said that she hopes the teammates and program she leaves behind will be able to leave with a similar outlook on life as her, while still hoping they are able to achieve the national championship that spent the last three years narrowly avoiding her.
For the seniors the “One Team, One Dream” mantra became much more than just a catchy phrase, it became something to live their lives by. It also became a symbol of the unity the team built, not only through the 2012-13 season but also the previous three years.
“To me, One Team One Dream represents the unity that this team was able to accomplish this season. For the seniors, it was a goal to create a drive within the team towards one goal,” Becca Haaland said. “I feel that this team, more than ever, is a family. We have each other’s backs and want success for each other; it was something that was really special to see happen.”
For Rogers, the mantra also had basis in the excellence the team was trying to achieve as well as much more than just winning a national championship.
“’One Team. One Dream’ means to me, that our combined efforts towards excellence make for a single unit of excellence. I know a lot of people wanted it to mean the dream of winning nationals but it's immature to make for a goal that requires a certain level of luck. This will only leave a defeated mindset and offset one's ability to achieve greatness in the future. The Judges loved one girl from the first day she stepped into the ring at nationals, and while she was an exceptional rider, had it been two other judges with different likes and dislikes, the results would have been different,” Rodgers said. “I myself have had days where I neglected a complete maneuver while my opponent went without error and I won a point that was not mine to have. That’s why it's important not to think too much of a win or a loss, because both over simplify your view of self if you hold all your value in results.”
But, as Maria Salazar articulated, it is unity that the senior class will remember their final year for.
“One team, One dream represents how our team came together so much during this year. I've never experienced such a united team in my time at Georgia,” Salazar said. “We didn't only have the same goals for the end of the year, but we also wished and hoped for success for each other. This year we truly became a family and I think that shows by the way we've bounced back from nationals.”