Lauren Vassallo goes inside the Lions den

The adjustment I had to go through was cruel; the atmosphere, the classes, and the team were all changes I had to deal with.

And coming into basketball season not knowing what to expect, I was nervous.,Let’s just put this out there, as blunt and true as possible: being a transfer student-athlete sucks.

The adjustment I had to go through was cruel; the atmosphere, the classes, and the team were all changes I had to deal with.

And coming into basketball season not knowing what to expect, I was nervous.

I’ve been playing basketball for as long as I can remember. Coming into the season, I had a train wreck of thoughts running through my head.

Get This Week's News

All the big stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning 

My last season in New Hampshire consisted of a league championship (with a ring to prove it) and a trip to the NCAA tournament. And here I was, coming into this new school with no idea about the girls on the team, the coach or what expectations everyone had of me.

Pre-season was the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with thus far.

It began with pick-up games, run by the team captains.

On the day of the first game, anxious, excited and nervous, I entered the new gym, sneakers in hand. I didn’t know who I was going to guard or how my shooting would be or how I would communicate with the girls on the team.

Soon enough, though, the girls were beginning to get to know me, as a player and as a friend, and in turn, I was beginning to get to know my teammates. Then, the first day of practices rolled around.

I hit the court. Little did I know how hard I’d hit it.

Cut to our second scrimmage in preseason.

We were facing Eastern Nazarene. Our team had played well in our first scrimmage against Clark, so I was excited to see what tricks we had up our sleeve for Eastern Naz. Plus, after practicing for close to a month, having some game-like situations was a lot more fun.

We were preparing for our first real game for the next weekend, our tip-off tournament in New Jersey. The real deal was upon us and I knew I had to work extra hard to prepare myself physically and mentally.

It was only the first five minutes into the scrimmage when it happened. Jumping in the air to get a steal, the ball fell into my hands easily. But I landed harder than I expected. My right ankle rolled as I came down.

Immediately, I felt a sharp pain and I swore as I tried to hold back my tears.

As much pain as I was in physically, the mental anguish was worse as I sat on the sidelines and watched my team play without me. I told myself I would play in the tip-off tournament no matter what.

The weekend came and the trainer taped me up with more tape then I could imagine. My swollen and bruised ankle was feeling sore, but not sore enough where I couldn’t play.

I guess that’s just the athlete in me: I play because I love to, and I want to help my team out as much as I can.

As for being a transfer student-athlete, it was definitely hard at first.

But as the school year and the season continues to roll on, things are getting easier. And it helps to have people support you.

So I want to thank everyone who has been trying to make me feel more a part of this school and more a part of the team.