Before I could even spell the word I knew I was in love. I was 4 years old with a basketball in my hands and had my eyes fixed upon the dream of becoming an athlete. I admired everything about the game- the drills, the team, and harnessing newly learned skills. A few years later I found myself completely engulfed in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. This was the first Olympics I was old enough to watch and understand and nothing fascinated me more. A world-wide event dedicated to sports; it blew me away! I woke up at odd hours of the early morning simply to watch Team USA. Watching the Olympics only fueled my inner desire to play and excel at every sport I could. Not before long, my mom signed me up for several sports at our local Boys and Girls Club. While my mom dedicated her time off the field to making sure I had the necessary equipment and getting me to practices on time, I invested my time on the field to becoming my best. I wasn’t there for the pizza parties; I was there to get better. I started playing soccer in middle school and as a high school student played basketball, threw the javelin in track and ran cross country. I now am involved in various recreational leagues, closely following countless teams and sharing my love of the game in ways I never imagined.
Looking back I achieved my dream of becoming the athlete I set out to be. Though it can be easy to focus on the “if only…” I have to remember all the things I have become that are far more valuable than any medal and championship I won or the team I didn’t make. I became the person I am today because sports have taught me the value of work ethic, working as a team, and enthusiasm. The skills I learned and exercised as an athlete are used daily in my social and professional lives. The jersey may be retired, but my love for sports still thrives. Fourteen years later that little 4 year old girl found herself as an assistant coach and a year later an administrator of a supporters group. The passion did not end with the final whistle of my last game… it merely began.
Throughout the next several weeks I will share my experiences as an athlete, coach, and even a footwear expert at Adidas. Using what I have learned I will highlight the values of teamwork, self confidence, and work ethic among other traits and ways to encourage your teammates, build team chemistry, and empower those around you to become their best. I will share with you valuable lessons I learned as an athlete and how to overcome obstacles individually and as a team. As a coach I will touch on how to improve team mentality and strengthen the bond between coach and player / player and player. Together we can bring out the best in each other through the game we all love.