Wednesday, February 3, 2016

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

In honor of this day, I wanted to write a blog to explain what this day means to me.

First of all, I have to give all praise to the Lord who has given me the ability to pursue this journey with field hockey. I am truly blessed to be living out His purpose for my life.

Next, I have to express how thankful I am to those who have paved the way before me and given me the opportunity to do what I love and live out my dreams every day! I was fortunate enough to grow up having strong, determined women to look up to on my journey through sports and life. I watched the US Women's soccer team battle their way to gold in the 1999 World Cup final. In 1996, I watched Kerri Strug land an almost perfect vault on an injured ankle to win Gold for the USA. I watched countless female college athletes in all sports (basketball, soccer, field hockey, tennis, etc.) I've watched these athletes who didn't always have visual role models on TV and in their hometowns, who lead the way for all of the women pushing the boundaries even further now! And I am especially thankful for all those who wore the red, white and blue with a field hockey stick in their hand before me. Your names may not be International or Nationally known, but I know how much hard work went into making the sport what it is today. We can continue to grow off the foundation that you all built!

I definitely have to thank my parents who not only introduced me to every sport under the sun, but allowed me to try all of them, practiced countless hours with me, have pushed me to be my best, and have been my BIGGEST cheerleaders the whole way! I definitely wouldn't be here without the endless support and sacrifice they have made! I am beyond blessed for their love and encouragement.

I also have to thank my brother, who is two years older than me. He has been my biggest competitor and my biggest fan. He has always been bigger and stronger than me... even now I lose to him in arm wrestling competitions (you're lucky I love you and am willing to share that with the world! haha). But growing up, my goal was always to beat him, even if it was just once. I was determined that one day I would win. By competing, I always had a chance. He never took it easy on me and he definitely brought out the best in me. Now that we've grown up, he is always cheering me on, near or far. I am so grateful for his support and his friendship.

I can't forget to give a shout out to all my coaches and teammates who have been a part of my journey. All of my teammates are amazing women who lead through sport. All my coaches, male and female who have enabled the growth and journey of myself and all my teammates throughout the years... I am thankful for each and every one of you who have given of yourself to grow strong women for the future!

Finally, I know that as I progress on my journey through the sport of field hockey, it is so important for me to continue to set a good example for our young women to strive for and emulate. I take it upon myself to motivate and empower them to reach even greater heights than I have! It is only the beginning for women to dominate the sports world! I want any young girl reading this to push the boundaries and don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something. Dream big and then dream bigger!! Set the bar higher and don't stop until you get there! Use all the negatives as fuel to prove them wrong! Believe in yourself and surround yourself with those who push you to be better! Use sports to learn about life and enjoy the ride!

Those are the lessons I want to give back to you! To the girls and the women who will soon be taking my place and filling them with bigger shoes! I am your biggest fan!

“God gives us these talents, and He’s given us this pedestal for a reason. You don’t have to choose between being great at your sport and following Jesus." -Lauren Cheney

“You and I were created by God to be so much more than normal…Following the crowd is not a winning approach to life. In the end it’s a loser’s game, because we never become who God created us to be by trying to be like everybody else.” – Tim Tebow

"My faith is so strong that I believe that God made me 5-11 for a reason. For all the kids that have been told, no, that they can’t do it, or all the kids that will be told no.” – Russell Wilson