Pick of the Pride: Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson does.

“I have bruises and I love them,” she said.

The field is Johnson’s sanctuary.,Everyone deals with stress in different ways. Many people, however, don’t look at lacrosse balls traveling toward them faster than highway speed limits as a form of relaxation.

Kelly Johnson does.

“I have bruises and I love them,” she said.

The field is Johnson’s sanctuary. No one can stop her when she is in her game mentality, she said.

“The only thing I have to worry about is stopping the ball,” she said. “Everything else just goes away and I don’t have to worry about the rest of the world for an hour.”

Johnson, a freshman writing, literature and publishing major hailing from Alabama, is the lone goalie for the women’s lacrosse team.

In high school, Johnson was a part of the only women’s lacrosse team in her state. Unlike most high school athletes who receive awards for their play, Johnson’s only reward was to be on the team.

“We had to travel,” she said. “We played in tournaments and we didn’t get any trophies because we weren’t technically in any league.”

During high school, Johnson contacted last year’s head coach MaryEllen Sullivan to express her interest in Emerson and the lacrosse program.

It was then she learned about the status of the group and how, at the time, they didn’t even have a goalie.

Luckily for Johnson, upon arriving at Emerson, she was assured the spot.

The cage has been Johnson’s second home during her years of playing.

“I’ve always loved to play goalie, and it’s guaranteed playing time,” she said.

But it isn’t raw talent that just keeps her back there.

“I think I prefer it because I get to watch the game too … [and] get to see what else is going on.”

Johnson can also be a lethal threat out of the goal.

She recalls a time in high school when she saved a ball and had no one to pass it to.

She decided to run the ball up the field herself and ended up scoring on the opposing team.

As fun as it was, Johnson admitted, “I probably won’t be able to do that in college.”

As much as she loves to play the game, Johnson understands her education comes first.

Next spring, she plans on going to Kasteel Well in the Netherlands, which will mean she will miss the lacrosse season.

However, she realizes it is better for her in the long run if she does study abroad.

She plans on returning to the team when she arrives back in the States.

No matter what happens, lacrosse will always be a part of her life, she said.

“After playing I’m happier,” she said. “Even if bad things happen, I’m relaxed. I don’t really have to think about everything else. It calms me.”