I have been in sports for as long as I have memories, from the early days of kicking the dirt and chasing butterflies in the outfield to playing six volleyball matches in a day surviving on string cheese and peanut butter sandwiches.
Sports are life for me.
I guess to some degree I find it odd that we have to have a day to celebrate women is sports because to me, I celebrate and fight for girls and women in sport everyday.
This makes me unpopular sometimes. That bothers me on occasion (I won’t lie) but I know that what I am fighting for is right, so that makes me feel better.
Bryan and I coach year round. Whether it be with our own volleyball program at St. James, our kids volleyball, basketball, track and field, baseball or soccer teams, or simply just how we coach the game of life to our players and alum and children on a regular and daily basis.
Coaching and teaching is was what I believe I was put on this Earth to do and I’m grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to do it in a place that I love.
So, today, on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I will celebrate that I found the path that was meant for me. I will celebrate that I have gotten to coach for years with my favorite person and best friend, Bryan Dorsey and that now I am getting to coach with and against (at times) my former players, now colleagues and friends.
Today on National Girls and Women in Sports Day I will celebrate that I have encountered some of my best childhood and adolescent year memories and friends from my time as an athlete.
I will celebrate that some of my dearest friends are my former college teammates from KU. Rock Chalk!
I will celebrate when my former players text me that they had a career high game in digs or that they finally won the spot they’d been fighting for all season.
I will celebrate the times our alum have called with concerns of transferring, breaking up with a boyfriend, struggling with fertility, losing a child, struggles with career choices or having a critically ill parent.
I will celebrate the times the volleyball program and their families showed up for mine like when my father had a near fatal heart attack at a sub-state volleyball game 8 years ago. The volleyball community is pretty special.
I will celebrate every wedding and baby shower I have attended (even some baby reveal parties) for the beautiful young girls, now women, that once played for us.
I will celebrate that sports gave me many important skills, like leadership, work ethic, confidence, the ability to overcome obstacles, organization, time management and so much more.
I will celebrate that every person that has ever been on one of our teams knows that even if they didn’t like all of our decisions about playing time they know we cared about them deeply and always will.
I will celebrate the hard won victories and the disappointing losses. There were lessons learned in all of them.
I will celebrate that sports made me a fighter. I will never stop being a fighter because of my experiences with sports and I will never allow anyone to tell me something isn’t possible.
I will celebrate the good and bad coaches I have had in my life, because there too, were a lot of lessons learned from every coach I’ve ever had.
I will celebrate my parents who drove me to games, rooted me on, cheered me up and sat in arguably the most uncomfortable place on Earth (bleachers) before there were state of the art chairs to make it less awful.
I will also celebrate my parents for arming me with the ability to advocate for myself and for practicing those tough conversations I needed to have with coaches over the years and for never having those conversations for me. Their trust in my ability to fight for myself is one of the reasons I believe I am the person I am today.
I must also celebrate my parents for picking me up after disappointments I faced in sports. When I was told I was “too small” to play Division 1 volleyball by a former coach (whose opinion mattered to me very much at the time) they encouraged me to believe that anything was possible with hard work and determination…and they were right. To this day one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life was to prove that coach wrong.
I must celebrate that playing sports and now coaching them for almost 20 years has allowed me to encounter so many different kinds of people and to make so many friends across the country that appreciate and respect the job we do each and every day.
I will celebrate that we have two beautiful daughters who love to compete (maybe too much at times…sorry girls, my bad). Watching those two girls go out there and battle and scrap and learn the hard lessons of sports is one of the greatest privileges of my entire life.
I will celebrate every time I saw the light go on with every girl I’ve ever coached or trained. Good LORD that is an amazing feeling to watch someone else start to believe in themselves.
To all the young women that have played for Mister and I. You know this already…but we love you. We are rooting for you, always. We are ALWAYS here if and when you need us, no matter how much time has passed. Coaching and mentoring you is one of the greatest joys of our life. Our kids knowing you and growing up with you as their mentors is one of the most beautiful parts of our vocation. Thank you for being a part of our Women in Sports story and our family.