For me, playing volleyball was more than just a hobby – it was my way of life; my navigation system. Coming from a loving home consisting of just myself and my grandma, we didn’t have a lot of financial stability. I knew very early that I was going to have to work very hard if I wanted to get to college.
My grandma always encouraged a growth motto of “better to be kind than smart.” …and academics weren’t always held at a high standard. Therefore… getting a scholarship for academics wasn’t in the cards for me. However, I knew that God had blessed me with an athletic ability that should not be wasted. So I worked very hard to be the best that I could be.
Now like I said, I came from a small SMALL family… so sports is where I found my large family dream! Not even kidding – my team is where I felt safe and at home. I learned so much from my “sisters” and my coaches. They truly helped shaped my entire being. So, preparing for college was easy (for me). I packed everything I owned in my car & trusted in the direction I was being led.
I mentally was fully present. So much so, that I may have been too easily convinced into doing things I shouldn’t have. But that was my journey and I’ve never regretted my decisions – I am grateful because I now know better.
Something I was struggling with was not having that family support system, what at the time, seamed like every other teammate was blessed with. I never had a problem with adopting myself into my best friends families… but I definitely had a deep subconscious wish that I had one of my own to support me.
Now that I teach & coach, I pay very close attention to my kiddos that don’t have that certain area of support and make sure to love on them extra hard – so I am grateful to have had the life I have been given because had I not, I wouldn’t be able to connect the way I can now.
Any advice that I would give to an athlete that comes from a broken home, or a home that really isn’t there – God is working in your life!! He is molding you into the man or woman that can make a HUGE change in this world. Only the strong survive the tough parts of life in order to pay it forward.
But REMEMBER… you are a student first and a athlete second. I struggled with this. I had such a hard time deciding what I wanted to “be for the rest of my life.” I would very much rather have spent more time leaning into my counselors and my coaches to really reach my purpose FASTER.
Life after sports? Is there ever life after sports? I live vicariously through my athletes & play with them every practice. I am involved in adult leagues and have become really great friends with gals I considered “rivals” at one time.
Never let the champion in you die! Our sports make us who we are & we have a duty to bring that champion out in our youth!