An open letter to the coach who changed my life:

The day you walked up to me in the gym four years ago is one I am constantly thinking of. It plays in my mind every time I set foot on a court or touch a volleyball. It’s a big part of the reason I am who I am now.

I never intended to play volleyball in high school. I always thought it was a girly sport because of how it was shown on TV. It was the sport you played in gym class to get an easy A and nothing more.

I didn’t know that it makes you stronger both physically and mentally. I didn’t know it makes you think critically about every move you make. I didn’t know it makes you think in terms of your team and not just yourself. I didn’t know it would change my life.

That day in the gym, you came up to me and asked me two questions: “Who are you and why aren’t you on the volleyball team?”

I responded with a sheepish shrug and a mumbled: “I don’t know.”

I knew. At the time, I didn’t think it was a real sport.

You convinced me to come to practice the next day and try it out.

From the moment the ball first touched my hands, everything changed.

Don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely terrible. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. I just wanted to keep playing forever. I wanted to get better. I wanted to be the best. And that was when I knew that this was something that was going to stay with me forever.

I played volleyball for all four years in high school, and my senior year, I was co-captain with two of the best girls I know. Through the fights and the aggravation, the long practices and the tough losses, the highs and the lows, playing volleyball was the best decision I made in high school.

And I owe all of that to you. If you never came up to me that day in the gym or convinced me to just try just one practice, I don’t know if I ever would’ve picked up a volleyball or if it would’ve been too late by the time I did. But because of you, I got to spend four years of my life playing this game that is now a part of me every day. There is no other way I’d rather have it.

Not a day goes by where I don’t think about how much I love this sport.

Because of you, I went through high school with a team who supported me in everything I did.

Because of you, I learned to open myself up to new experiences despite my own preconceived notions.

Because of you, I throw myself into everything I do so that I can be the best at it.

Because of you, I found an outlet where I can let go of all of my emotions.

Because of you, I fell in love with this game and nothing will ever change that.

An open letter to the coach who changed my life.

Thank you.

Lead Image Credit: JeppeSmedNielsen via Pixabay