The number on my very first jersey was 31. I’ll never forget it. I had just turned 4 years old and it was far too big for me, but I didn’t care. My stick was blue and my mom made me use a red mouth guard that hung out the side of mouth (a habit that carried on for years).

On that very first day, at Westchester Elementary School in Catonsville, Md., I walked out onto the field like I owned it. The second I held the ball in my stick, it felt so natural, like I had belonged there.

From that day forward, I had found somewhere I belonged.

Throughout my elementary and middle school years, I played for the Catonsville Youth Lacrosse program. After graduating from St. Mark’s School in Catonsville, I attended The Seton Keough High School where I played soccer, basketball, ran cross country and played lacrosse. In the spring of my freshman year, I was the only freshman to make the varsity lacrosse team, allowing me to play alongside my sister, Caitlin, who was a senior.

In the summers, I was fortunate enough to be able to play club lacrosse. I started my club career with Heroes Lacrosse before moving on to SkyWalkers in 2010. Thanks in part to my amazing coaches — Willy Fahey, Kevin Atkinson, and, of course, Mike McLaughlin — I was recruited by Kara Reber to be a part of the inaugural women’s lacrosse team at Florida Southern College.

At first, I was very wary of committing to FSC because of it being a brand new program. There were no leaders, no prior teammates, and no record to uphold. However, I wanted to be part of history. Little did I know, my amazing teammates and I would be the beginning of a program that, at just 5 years old, would go on to win the 2016 NCAA Division II Championship.

I graduated from Florida Southern College in December 2014, a semester early, with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. After moving back home to Baltimore, I accepted a job offer from The Archdiocese of Baltimore as its social media specialist. After 22 months at the archdioceses, I moved on to US Lacrosse.

It is joyfully overwhelming to be at US Lacrosse and a part of the sport that I participated in for almost 20 years. I am very excited to grow the game, inspire athletes, and change the world — one lacrosse stick at a time.

Maureen Cromer is the new content marketing manager at US Lacrosse. You can follow her on Twitter at @CromerProbs.