It’s crazy to think one day you wake up and you are no longer an athlete. For some it’s over before high school, and for others, if you are lucky enough to play in college, it’s after high school. I was lucky. I got to play the sport I love for 14 long years. Volleyball wasn’t always my passion. If you asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I would tell you “I’m going to be the next Mia Hamm.” It’s crazy to think how something so big and crucial in your life can be over so fast.
I played soccer for 10 years and nothing made me happier. As a kid, I would run around outside in the backyard for hours trying to get better.
I was playing with my sister in the front of my house one day when my neighbor asked me if I wanted to try out for volleyball. I tried to explain to him that I was much more coordinated with my feet, but he told me if I wasn’t any good I can quit anytime. Knowing that there was no way for him to let me say no, I agreed.
My senior game of college I thanked him for pushing me to my dreams.
The saying goes, “you never know what you have until its gone,” and that couldn’t be more accurate.
You’ll never think it’s ever really going to end and then one day you are crying in a random gym reflecting on the past as if it didn’t just end.
I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today if it wasn’t for my friends and family.
Their constant love and support pushed me to be better and better every time I stepped on the field or the court.
No matter what sport I was playing, my parents were at every single game cheering me on. No amount of thank you’s could measure up to how grateful I am for my mom supporting my athletic career.
She would drive all hours of the night to bring me to away games or would stand outside in the snow while I ran around on the soccer field keeping warm.
She never complained and always had a smile on her face.
She says all the time, “I do miss standing on a soccer field on a nice warm spring day but being in an air-conditioned weather-controlled environment is much better!”
Every athlete has their setbacks. Whether it’s something personal happening in one’s life or an injury, it’s what someone does with that setback that makes them stronger for it.
Personally, I’ve always had an injury. Some more serious than others but I never let it stop me from helping my team.
Looking back at it, I should have given my body a lot more time to heal.
My sister could never understand why I played through so many injuries.
“Is it worth ruining your body?,” she would say to me.
The correct response is no it’s not, but it’s just not that simple. I couldn’t stand the thought of letting my teammates down.
So now I’m here, having to go for my second labrum surgery and I look back on my 18 years of being an athlete and wouldn’t trade one day of it.
Being an athlete made me who I am today.
It made me be stronger both physically and mentally.
It made me value hard work and dedication.
It made me value friendships.
It made me understand the meaning of leadership.
The list goes on and on about how sports have shaped me to be who I am today.
So, I just want to thank everyone who shared my athletic journey with me, as this chapter in my life closes I can’t wait to see what life is going to throw at me next.