When she received a call regarding a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve her country, Mia Becker wasn’t the least bit enthused.
"I remember thinking, ‘I would never do that,’" the 2020 Hudson graduate said.
If you hear Becker tell the story, one might have wondered if Ashton Kutcher was on the other line.
That’s because Becker could have sworn she was being "Punk’d."
"When the coach reached out to me, I was like, ‘Haha, that’s funny,’" she said. "I never thought about it. It never crossed my mind."
Becker doesn’t feel that way now, of course. A little motherly advice made all the difference.
"She told me to go for a day and see what it’s like," Becker said. "As it turned out, I loved it."
Since Becker is no longer apprehensive about her next destination, she might have a new appreciation for a certain commonly used phrase.
"There are plenty of fish in the sea."
For Becker, that could include sharks, whales, octopuses, seals and otters too.
And when she returns to dry land, Becker will get to play her favorite sport for at least another four more years.
Becker recently decided to continue her academic and lacrosse careers at the United States Coast Guard Academy, which is the coastal defense, search and rescue and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Becker plans to major in operations research and computer analysis at the four-year service academy, which is located in New London, Connecticut.
"It felt different from the other colleges I visited," Becker said. "I don’t want to do something everybody else does. I want to be a part of something that is bigger than myself."
Thanks to a recent executive order by a certain not so politically correct individual in the nation’s capital, social media companies have been targeted for censoring free speech.
Pardon Becker if her response to such controversial news goes something like this: Meh. Besides, who has time to tweet when you’re performing rescue missions?
"I won’t be able to use social media during my first year there," Becker said. "Everyone is down to earth because they’re not on their phones constantly."
Becker may have used her phone a bit more than she liked during these past few months. Due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as COVID-19, citizens from all over the globe saw their lives turned upside down due to mandatory lockdowns.
These drastic measures were particularly brutal for Becker and quite a few of her stick-carrying companions. Since the disease is highly contagious and extremely dangerous, the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the entire season for spring sports.
Thus, the Explorers, who had high hopes of competing for a Division I state title, did not play a single match in 2020.
"Don’t get me wrong, it sucked," Becker said. "It was going to be our year. It made me sad, but I also appreciate the fact that we had a good run."
They certainly did.
Hudson finished with a 14-4 record and advanced to the Division I, Region 2 title match last year. The Explorers also reached the Region 2 title contest during Becker’s freshman year and the state semifinals in 2018.
Becker certainly played a major role in Hudson’s success. The standout defensive midfielder finished with 106 ground balls, 74 takeaways, 17 draw controls, 10 interceptions, nine goals and three assists during her three-year career.
As a result of her tenacity, Becker easily became a fan favorite at Hudson Memorial Stadium. She made an impression on at least one opposing coach too.
"We played Olentangy Liberty on senior night and after the game, their coach said to me, ‘No. 18 is a human vacuum cleaner,’" Maludy said. "Every ball is like a magnet that is attached to her stick. Every ball is hers. You can’t tell her otherwise."
Maludy said Becker would have likely played a bigger role on offense this spring. Unfortunately for the second-year coach, that plan was scratched due to the global pandemic.
"She has a bubbly personality, but she definitely gets down to business when she’s on the field," Maludy said. "She has a great sidearm shot and a great lacrosse IQ. She has a great ability to change tasks at a moment’s notice."
The Coast Guard women’s lacrosse team won three of its first five games before the rest of the 2020 season was canceled because of the virus. The Bears finished 7-11 overall, including 4-4 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference last year.
While lacrosse is her first love, Becker is not a one-trick pony. She was a promising forward for the Explorers’ girls soccer team as well.
Sadly, Becker’s career on the pitch came to an abrupt halt due to a serious injury.
"After my sophomore season, I focused on lacrosse," she said. "I got a concussion from soccer. I loved the game and I loved the girls, but it just wasn’t worth it."
Being part of a military academy, on the other hand, is definitely worth it for the easy-going teenager. It just took a little bit of coaxing from mommy dearest.
"I remember being in a bad mood when I went," Becker said. "I thought it was going to be a waste of time. As it turned out, not at all."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @Faceto_Gannett.