116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It’s not easy to leave something you love once you find it.
I learned this lesson after my volleyball career ended this fall, after playing for nine years.
Coming from a sports-loving family, my sisters and I entertained ourselves by playing games and competing with friends.
By the time I was 8 years old, I had already tried my hand at soccer, basketball and softball. I enjoyed aspects of each, but I couldn’t see myself doing any long-term.
Then I was introduced to volleyball.
Spending years in the gym watching my mom coach and older sisters play, it seemed a given I would follow them and join volleyball. Over the years, I fell in love with the strategy, atmosphere and team chemistry of the game.
I worked hard, rarely missing an open gym, early morning lift or agilities session. I learned the importance of hard work by giving my all and training to be better.
As a two-year team captain, I have realized the value of setting goals, clear communication and effective leadership. I worked to become a dependable team player and have been rewarded with personal growth.
As my senior year approached, I felt excited at the prospect of playing my favorite sport with my best friends for one last year. However, with that final year came the decision of continuing my volleyball career in college.
For months, the subject was difficult because the decision weighed on me. Family, friends and even strangers frequently inquired about my plans and whether playing volleyball at the collegiate level was in the cards.
Athletes pour hours, days, months and years of hard work and dedication into their sports. And yet, after nine years, I had decided it would be best for my future to not further my volleyball career.
The activity I looked forward to year-round, whether it was in a sand volleyball tournament, on the school team or for a club, was done.
Leaving a sport you have loved for nearly a decade is not easy.
I will miss the team meals, bus rides, inside jokes, my coaches and my teammates. I will miss the euphoria of blocking a hit or acing a serve. I will miss the roar when the student section rushes the court after a big upset.
I will miss the sport and everything it has given me.
Although I won’t be playing, volleyball always will part of my life. In December, I started a new chapter, coaching a fifth-grade club team. My goal is to transfer my love of the game to the young players I work with.
In addition to keeping the sport in my life, coaching also has given me another perspective of the game. From this position, I have gained a greater understanding of the skills, strategy and camaraderie that has only increased my love of volleyball.
It is because of this passion I have for the sport I know it always will be a part of my life. Whether it’s intramurals, coaching or even just watching, volleyball is a chapter in my life I don’t want to forget.
Leaving a sport is never easy.
But when you invest so much into your passion - the lessons, friendships and memories - it never really leaves you.