It wasn’t until the end of the conversation with Jamie Appelberg, regarding her signing a national letter of intent to play Division I field hockey at Fairfield University, that the Trumbull High senior supplied the key to unlocking the puzzle on her positive approach to any situation.

“My big sister Kirstin passed away five year ago (at the age of 15) after fighting every day of her life to overcome medical challenges,” Appelberg said. “It was very hard on all of use, but my mom and dad (Jackie and Mark) started a foundation in her name to raise funds to help others.

“My number one priority, outside of school, is doing as much volunteer work as possible”

Kristin’s Love Life Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness, hope and funds for children and those in need.

It was from a 2009 school notebook that the Appelberg’s found the simple words, artistically printed by Kristin’s hand, that epitomize the very essence of her being — “Love Life.”

Jamie Appelberg believes that her field hockey teammates never had a negative practice day this past season, and that’s why head coach Cindy Gallucci’s Eagles were in position to win every game they played against a demanding FCIAC slate.

In fact, Trumbull’s 3-0 victory over an Amity of Woodbridge team that went 8-6-2 in the SCC was the bellringer for the Eagles, who finished 1-12-2 overall and 0-9-2-2 in the FCIAC.

“We loved being together playing field hockey, we’re best friends, and didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that,” she said. “We had twelve girls together from freshman year through varsity as seniors. It meant a lot to look around and see each other.”

While Appelberg was All-FCIAC first teamer as an attacker, and will play that role at Fairfield, she started out on defense.

“I began playing defense on jayvee as a freshman, and swinging to varsity and then played varsity defense as a sophomore,” she said. “Junior and senior year I swung between defense and attack.”

Appelberg’s ability to change positions mirrored her team’s mindset over the course of her four years.

“Freshman year was all about winning, and then we worked hard and were very competitive again as juniors and seniors,” she said. “We learned from the ups and downs.

“Playing Norwalk was supposed to be a tough game for us. We got the lead and in the last ten seconds they scored. I was asked if I was upset and said, ‘No, we played our hardest in those last ten minutes.’

“The frustration wasn’t in our play — it was not knowing when one of those wild moments was going to come again.”

Joining head coach Jackie Kane’s Stags next season should bring plenty of those magical times, as Fairfield is coming off an 11-7 campaign that included a trip to the America East semifinals. Kane has led the team to a post-season conference tournament eight times.

“I’m a homebody and Coach Kane showed interest and went out of her way to show me she wanted me at Fairfield as a student athlete,” Appelberg said.

Playing field hockey was a natural choice for Appelberg.

“My mom played field hockey and was always there to help out and that made it a comfortable sport for me,” she said.

Appelberg will play with a Fairfield travel team and continue to work on her skills in preparation for playing in college.

“I played lacrosse for three years and I’m sad having to give it up,” she said. “I really needed to look at the bigger picture to get better at this sport. But, I’ll be there this spring to support them.”