On November 17th, I played my last volleyball game of my career. I took off the number 13, slid off my kneepads and unlaced my volleyball shoes for the last time. It’s been just over a month since the game. At first, I don’t think I really processed it. I don’t think I let myself process it. For my entire life, you have been the thing that has been consistent. No matter what was going on in my life you were there. You have been with me through the awkward middle school years, through the coaches who made me cry, through the club changes, through the dreaded high school years–you were always there.
And now, you’re not. I never really thought this day would come. Part of me, I guess, knew that I could only play volleyball for so long. I just never realized what it would mean to be done. Now I sit here, over a month after my last game, and I think about all the memories you have given me.
I think about middle school volleyball. I remember having the opportunity to represent my school for the first time and how happy it made me to put on the navy and white. I’m smiling now, thinking about the knee high socks and ribbons we would tie on backpacks. I think about club seasons. I remember winning my first national qualifier, competing at the Open level, traveling to states and cities I never thought I’d see. I think about high school where my teams were able to accomplish so much in the name of our school. I think about college–about signing to Loyola, learning what it really meant to be a student-athlete and competing at the Division I level.
The memories go on and on, but most of all I remember my teams. I remember the girls who showed up with me everyday, the girls who were next to me on the line as we ran, the girls who would show up on those two a days. All these good times, all these memories which stand out in my head are thanks to you. What would I have to remember without you? School? Classes I took? Now I remember winning, competing and challenging myself next to my closest friends. That’s all because of you. I can’t even imagine where I would be without you. I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t have learned what I have, and I wouldn’t have this well of experiences to pull from for the rest of my life.
So, volleyball, thank you. Thank you for making me, me. I’m going to miss you. More than you know. But I know I’ll be alright without you, because you have helped me grow up in ways I didn’t know I needed to.
Thank you, and goodbye.