Share Your Story: Tiffany Weimer
I don't have to look too far back to remember my days as a Big Ten student-athlete - it ended just last year.
Playing soccer at Penn State has been the single most amazing experience of my life thus far. It defined me as a person for four years, and as I have found out only recently, it will continue to do so forever. When I began playing as a freshman, I didn't know what to expect from Penn State or from the Big Ten Conference, but more importantly I didn't know what to expect from myself. What I did know, though, was what I saw everyday during practice.
For Big Ten schools - I think more so than most others - there is so much tradition. I know it's that way at Penn State. If it weren't for the players who came before me, I would not have been able to accomplish what I did. I was able to watch and learn from one of the best forwards in the country in Christie Welsh and also one of the best midfielders in the nation in Joanna Lohman. Both these athletes have taken soccer to the next level and now play for the U.S. National Team. I was able to watch them when they were upperclassmen and I was only a freshman. They showed me, likely without ever knowing it, what it means to take pride in what you love: your team and your school.
When I went through my years at Penn State, I found myself trying to spread the ideas that were given to me during my first year. I wanted the tradition to live on. My senior year was the best season of soccer I have ever been a part of since I first kicked a ball 18 years ago. We were undefeated in the Big Ten, winning our eighth consecutive Big Ten Championship. We were technically undefeated through the entire season only losing twice in penalty kicks, once in the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan and once in the College Cup semifinals to the eventual national champion, Portland. We were two kicks shy of absolute perfection and not many teams in the country can say they have done that.
I was apart of a class that only lost one game on our home field in four years. We went to two College Cups, won four Big Ten titles, and better than all of it put together, had the best times of our lives doing something we loved. Regardless of all the awards I received through out my four years, what stands out more than anything was being able to compete at one of the highest levels of women's soccer in the world. I have been able to play against and with some of the best players to ever play the game, and more importantly, acquired life-long friendships along the way.
The best part of it all, for all of us who have experienced being a Big Ten athlete, is that no matter how long ago it was or how talented anyone was, it will always be a part of us that no one else will understand. People on the outside don't understand it, and for us on the "inside," we could never explain it. It is something special, and I am certain of that because after our last game at the College Cup, I didn't want to take my jersey off. I didn't want to take it off because I knew I would never be able to put it back on again, to compete like we did, to play for each other like we did, and to represent Penn State and the Big Ten Conference like we did.