The Finish Line: Patrick Corcoran

May 19, 2017

"It's the little moments - the small victories, the 'can't make this stuff up' stories, the stupid inside jokes - that have meant the most."

By Patrick Corcoran '17, Lafayette Track and Field

 The Finish Line

  The Finish Line, a special section of The Real Deal, is a series of first-person stories written by recently graduated student-athletes, reflecting on their Lafayette experience.

To the sport that has been my passion and my purpose...

To the sport that has given me a reason to get out of bed every morning and motivation to better myself...

To the sport that has given me opportunities to challenge myself and become comfortable in uncomfortable situations...

To the sport that has introduced me to many of my closest and dearest friends...

To the sport that, every year, has given me a family of 30+ brothers...

To the sport that has taught me to never settle for “just good enough”, but to work relentlessly to do the best that I can...

To the sport that has shown me that opponents do not need to be enemies...

To the sport that has taught me to stay calm and perform at the highest level in pressure situations...

To the sport that has granted me opportunities to develop into a leader, and has taught me countless lessons about leadership...

To the sport that has taught me to be strong, not merely physically, but more importantly, mentally and emotionally...

To the sport that has challenged and taught me to reduce and eliminate self-doubt, negative patterns of thinking, and unhealthy self-image...

To the sport that has repeatedly broken me down, only to give me the opportunity to build myself back up even stronger time and time again...

To the sport that has always challenged me to strive for greatness, and has allowed me to accomplish things that I never thought possible...

To the sport that has taught me to hate my own excuses, and to never accept mediocrity...

To the sport that has given me a platform to connect with fellow athletes, providing opportunities to simultaneously teach and to learn valuable life lessons...

To the sport that has provided me with incredible mentors, both in teammates and coaches...

To the sport that has allowed me to represent Lafayette College, a community that I love deeply... 

To the sport that has allowed me to be myself, without fear of what others might think...

To the sport that has given me something to be proud of myself for...

To the sport that has given me all this, and has never demanded from me anything more than blood, sweat, tears and hard work...

Thank you.

I wish I had more to offer, but those two, simple words perfectly and powerfully encapsulate the immense gratitude that I feel for having been able to participate in this incredible sport.

I know my journey is not over yet, but it will soon come to a close, and I will leave behind the chapter of my life in which I was able to call myself a track and field athlete. I have carried that title humbly, but with honor, and when it comes time, I will relinquish that same title and accept whatever awaits me.

My sport has, in so many ways, made me the man I am today. And I’ve come a long way in four years.

One of the things I have valued most about track and field is that your outcomes are entirely determined by your own individual effort. There is no redirection of blame to a teammate who didn’t pass you the ball, or who missed the buzzer beating shot: if your outcome isn’t what you wanted, it means you need to work harder and smarter in preparation for next time.

While this has certainly been true, nothing comes for free in track and field. Just because you work your tail off doesn’t mean you automatically achieve success.

To be frank, nearly all of my biggest goals in my sport have gone unaccomplished. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is.

Yet at the same time, I have no regrets for not achieving these goals. I truly feel that I did everything in my power to strive towards the image of greatness that I created for myself.


I also have achieved feats in my sport that I never would have dreamed of. And while the outcome may not have been what I desired, the lessons I learned along the way have been priceless. In many ways, track and field has helped me to discover my own greatness, even if it looks different than what I had in mind.

At the end of the day, I have loved competing in my sport. But what I will miss most is the training.

No, I won’t miss running 100-meter sprints once a week in the fall, or squatting 400 pounds for multiple reps at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. But I’ll miss having people right next to me, pushing me to better myself and expecting that I do the same for them.

It’s the little moments - the small victories, the “can’t make this stuff up” stories, the stupid inside jokes – that have meant the most.

It’s not the thrill of competition, but the people behind these moments whose absence I will notice. These are teammates on the track who became friends for life. Through the good times and the bad, it’s been an honor to struggle and celebrate alongside you all.



I’ll miss having something bigger than myself that I can identify with.

For me, right now, there is nothing more difficult than having to say that I used to be on the Lafayette track and field team. This team and this sport have been my everything; moving on is scary.

 More...

For more first-person accounts from Lafayette student-athletes, check out the Finish Line stories in The Real Deal.

For full coverage of this past weekend's graduation ceremonies, visit the Commencement home page.

To all those who have had a hand in my career – coaches, teammates, family, friends, opponents, mentors, role models – I owe you a lot more than a few sentences, but I can’t accurately express how I feel at this time. You know who you are, and you know what your influence has meant to me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

While it is sad to leave this sport behind, I know that it has prepared me for the next stage, and I am ready to attack my future with the same determination as I did every day in track and field.

As the late Steve Prefontaine once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” The gift I have been given is a series of incredible, unforgettable, life-changing experiences and lessons through my involvement in my sport.

To give anything less than my best in the next stage of my life would be to sacrifice my gift.

Track and field, I will see you again one day, and I hope that I will be able to touch the lives of future athletes in the same way that you and my mentors have forever bettered my life.

And so, for one last time, to the sport I love...

Thank you.