Christa Dalakis had forgotten about the list. After all, more than 10 years had passed since she had been an idealistic high school junior, eager to put her mark on the world, creating short- and long-term goals.
Back then, she wanted to be successful in life. She wanted to own a mountain. She wanted to play softball in the Olympics.
The mountain has yet to be checked off, but Dalakis, a Gaithersburg native, has her own personal training business. And after successful athletic careers at Quince Orchard High and George Mason University, Dalakis is set to be a member of Greece's first national softball team as the country prepares to host the Olympics next month.
"My mom had brought me some papers cleaning out the house," Dalakis said. The list was "in a stack of papers I had from high school -- report cards, stuff like that. . . . We were looking through [them] together and looking at my report cards and then I said, 'Oh my goodness, mom, look at this.' . . . There was my list of goals and number one on my goals was to play in the Olympics."
The Hellas, as they are known, continue their pre-Olympic tour Sunday in College Park with a doubleheader against a pair of local all-star teams. Dalakis, a catcher and outfielder, is on the active roster during the warmup tour, but she has been designated as an alternate for the Olympics. Greek Coach Linda Wells has chosen Dalakis to be an assistant coach at the Games. For Dalakis, it is close enough.
"I'm proud and honored; to be a part of this team in any way that I can is wonderful," said Dalakis, who is eligible for the team because both of her parents were born in Greece, easily satisfying the minimum requirement that a player have at least one Greek great-grandparent. "I feel so honored to be part of the program and helping the sport in Greece and giving the kids in Greece something to look forward to."
Dalakis, a three-sport athlete at Quince Orchard, earned a scholarship to George Mason. There, she started on the Patriots' softball team for four seasons and walked on to the volleyball team as a defensive specialist because some of the players with whom she was friendly said the team needed a player at that position. The Patriots' volleyball team made the NCAA tournament in both of those seasons.
After college, Dalakis played softball for the Stratford (Conn.) Brakettes, one of the nation's top women's fast-pitch teams. After giving up softball and starting her career as a trainer, Dalakis said she suffered from "my post-competition disorder."
In order to feed her competitive cravings, Dalakis picked up another sport: cycling. In little time, she was winning regional championships. But with a potential trip to Athens looming, Dalakis did want to risk injury and stowed her bike until after the Olympics.
That doesn't surprise those close to Dalakis, who say she always keeps busy and remains focused.
"They say that people who write down their goals usually have a better chance of success, if you have an abstract idea of what you want," said Jenifer Stach, Dalakis's Quince Orchard teammate who sat down with her friend one afternoon after practice to create the lists of goals. "But that's Christa, that's how she's always been. . . . If you ask anybody, they'll tell you the same thing about Christa. When she gets her mind set on something, she will pursue it at all costs in a positive way."
In high school, that meant challenging the authority of her mother, a pediatrician who preferred her daughter "to be more of a feminine type and more of an intellectual type," Helen Tsitouris said.
But Dalakis persevered and now is getting ready for her reward. By going to Athens, Dalakis can check one more item off her list. And she still has an eye on someday acquiring her mountain.
"I haven't gotten that one yet, but I'm working on it," she said. "I'm thinking maybe Colorado so I can do some fly-fishing.
"I always set my goals as high as I can in whatever I do in life. It sounds kind of corny, but set your goals as high as you can and shoot for the sky."