Moving forward is good.

In sports, you want to move the ball/puck/whatever forward. In dance, you almost always face the audience. Even in things like math, you start at one point in the equation and move onward.

But sometimes, it’s good to take a minute to look back. I had that very opportunity over fall break, when I went home to Pittsburgh for a few days with my family. Part of the festivities for the weekend included my younger brother’s field hockey team banquet.

This was a two-part celebration for me. Over the course of the banquet, my brother was named Team Captain and Defensive MVP, both for the second year in a row. As cheesy as it sounds, I was incredibly proud of him for earning both of those awards. He worked hard for them, and the rest of the team actually voted. The fact that his teammates thought he was so capable and strong was great to see.

On top of that, I played field hockey on the team my senior year, and it was one of the greatest times I’ve ever had. A few other colleges in the area had fall break the same time as Gannon’s, so a lot of my old teammates were at the banquet too. It was a great chance to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in a year or so.

And the icing on the cake, for me, was the traditional photo album, given to seniors when they graduate. I still have mine in my room. I flipped through it the other day, reading all the letters my teammates had written me, and it was very nostalgic. I love taking time every so often to sit with an old photo album or letter – or whatever item you have an emotional attachment to – and just look back. I find it to be quite therapeutic at times. Reflecting on the field hockey team brought a lot of good memories back, and I’m really glad I decided to join that team. I also kind of regret not joining earlier, but that can’t be helped now.

I guess my point is this: Don’t let go of your past. I’m not saying live in the past, but don’t let it slip away too easily. That stuffed animal you haven’t played with since you were six, that award you won in third grade that was one of your greatest accomplishments – hold onto those things. They may not have a specific use now, but sometimes just an item’s presence is all you need to forge onward.