If anyone knows me, they know that I smile a lot.
The entire time I am on that court, I am smiling, enjoying every single minute of playing with my team no matter what was happening. As long as I got the opportunity to hit the ball, I was a very happy camper. My first piece of advice is to never take for granted being on that court. When I was a sophomore in high school, a senior told the younger classmates to appreciate the fact that we were young and could continue to play after that year. This particular senior was going off to college not to play volleyball, but to focus on school. After that day, I made sure every time I touched that court I was grateful that I was still able to play.
I started really playing volleyball at 15 after I joined a club team which allowed me to develop skills I never knew I could master. This gifted me to opportunity to make varsity as a sophomore which is where I meet the senior who made me think differently about walking onto the court. In the end, I went off to college to play volleyball for two years and to obtain my bachelor’s degree. I then got accepted into pharmacy school which ended my collegiate career of volleyball. During my time playing, I never stopped smiling. There were times when I wasn’t smiling as much, due to the fact that I wasn’t playing as good as I could have or I was being yelled at. I have had two coaches that have yelled at me. One coach I will always thank for yelling at me, I didn’t realize this when he was actually scolding me, but now I couldn’t be happier. The other coach was just mean. Her yelling never made sense and she tried to degrade you every single time she spoke to you. I don’t believe I ever got one compliment from her in the two years that I played for her where I was one of the better players on the team.
My second piece of advice is to step back from the situation you are being dealt with at the moment and reanalyze it.
The first coach that ever reprimanded me was not doing it with the intention to hurt me, but to make me a better volleyball player. There was a tournament one weekend where I could bet a lot of money that he was only yelling at me that day. My mother even saw this throughout the day and by the end of the tournament I was torn down. I ended up crying the whole way back home that night because I felt so personally victimized. I didn’t play well that day, but neither did half of the team. I didn’t understand why I was the only one being yelled at. A couple of days later my mother was very upset and went to ask him why he had discriminated against me that weekend. The coach apologized and said it wasn’t personal. He also said and I quote “you do not know how strong your daughter is”. My mother told me that and from that day on I took the yelling as a sign that I needed to play better for my coach and also for myself.
I knew this experience would make me a stronger human being who could do anything.
If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through college. My college coached victimized me my second year of volleyball to the point where I wanted to cry or quit every night. Instead, I played my hardest. I love the game of volleyball and she was not going to take that away from me. I remembered what my old coach said and made sure that no matter what comment she made to me I was getting the most kills, most blocks, and smiling the whole time. My hard work paid off and I was recognized as 2013 All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Women's Volleyball Second Team and made history by breaking records and putting my name on my college’s leader board for many skills. I can say now with certainty that if I was never yelled at as a 17-year-old girl, I would not be where I am now. I am so grateful that I got to play for that coach and even though at the beginning I couldn’t understand why he was yelling at me so much; I wouldn’t have made it through college without him.
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