By Tanner Fleming / Special to the Delta
Lifelong football player Kulveer Sandhar worked his way up to the collegiate level before deciding to transfer his talents from the football field to the lacrosse field.
It takes a special type of person to walk away from the sport they truly love to give a totally different sport a try and that is not all.
Kulveer had never even played the game lacrosse before walking away from football.
Kulveer had played football his entire life. He is originally from Plumas Lake, Calif. and got a scholarship offer to play football at Missouri Valley College, where he later signed to play.
Kulveer played football at Missouri Valley for three years.
Then, in the spring of 2018, Kulveer decided to take his athletic ability away from the football field.
That is when he decided he would give lacrosse a try. Kulveer is now entering his second season for the Missouri Valley College lacrosse team.
Despite his transition to the new sport, Kulveer still is still fond of football.
“I miss everything about it,” he said. “I have been playing since I was 8 years old. Played for 12 years. This is going to be the second season without doing anything that involves football. It is just different.”
As many may wonder, why exactly would Kulveer give up all of the time and effort he had put in to being a great football player?
“I felt like I was not getting the shot I deserved,” he said. “Started on JV, did really well, had a pretty good shot on varsity, but never got the shot I thought I deserved.”
After Kulveer decided that enough was enough, he still wanted to attend Missouri Valley College but could not attend without his football scholarship.
That is when he spoke with the lacrosse coach about possibly becoming a manager for the team. Kulveer was on track to become the manager.
Kulveer knew a little about the sport, but not a whole lot. He lived with lacrosse player Nathaniel Reyes so he knew some of the rules of the game.
Kulveer would occasionally pick up a stick and play catch with Reyes for fun but never expected it to go anywhere from there. One day Kulveer was heading to a team meeting when Coach Nathan Young asked him to join the Missouri Valley College Men’s Lacrosse Team.
“He gave me a bag full of pads and asked if i wanted to play, I said why not? Wouldn’t hurt to give it a try,” Kulveer said.
Kulveer had a rough start at practices, as anyone would who is jumping right into a new sport.
“Kulveer looked like a chicken with his head cut off,” Reyes said.
But over time Kulveer has shown a lot of improvement.
Coach Young said, “I can remember the first day; him stepping on the field and not knowing where to run, where to look or where to go. He tests the boundaries more than he should do, but he keeps us on our toes that’s for sure.”
Most players and coaches strongly agree that Kulveer’s main strength on the field is his athleticism. Kulveer plays defensive midfield for the team.
“His defensive knowledge and his cerebral ability, knowing where to be, what to do helps us out a lot in defensive midfield which can be a weak spot of any defense,” Young said.
By the time games started in March of 2017, Kulveer got to get into the games.
“To begin with, he did not get a lot of time, but as the year went on he earned some more playing time,” Young said. “He was not expecting a lot and he did pretty well.”
Considering this was his first season playing this sport that is completely new to him, he ended up getting more playing time than he originally expected.
By the time April hit, the games were still carrying on and Kulveer was earning himself more and more playing time as he improved throughout the season.
The team was playing Clarke University at home on April 7. It was not a close game by any means. Kulveer was put in the game and Clarke turned the ball over.
At this point, Kulveer picked the ball up and went for a fast break towards the Viking side of the field. Kulveer passed the ball to Aaron Longley, Aaron passed back and then Kulveer shot it; making his first career goal.
“We expect him to take a little more of a leadership role with freshman coming in at the same position he is at, and show some upperclassman leadership, and also to help the guys through his experience,” Young said.
Kulveer is no longer the new kid on the team who could get away with not knowing what is going on. He will now be expected to perform better, play smarter, and work harder.
The football team had many mixed feelings when it came to Kulveer switching over to the lacrosse team. Of course nobody wants to see a teammate up and leave, but it is always important to look at it through Kulveer’s eyes. It was in Kulveer’s best interest to switch to lacrosse, he is now getting the varsity playing time he has worked for.
Many of the members of the football team are still supporting Kulveer now that he is a lacrosse player, showing up in the bleachers during lacrosse games. Drake Higgins is one of those past teammates.
“I saw Kulveer score his first goal last season,” Higgins said. “Then I got the ball that he scored and gave it to him after the game.”