I was asked by my former volleyball coach to write a letter to all of the young ladies who will wear my old jersey. I decided to post it on my blog as well.
Dear #3 Volleycat,
You don’t know me and you probably have not heard about me since it has been seventeen years since I put on that #3 jersey for the first time. I didn’t really know what volleyball was until the day I tried out for the team the summer before 9th grade when Coach Alfonso recruited me. I played basketball for most of my life throughout elementary and middle school. I also tried cheerleading two different times. I was always super athletic and outgoing, but was in search for that competitive sport that would strike passion. Little did I know that that summer would change my life and leave an ever-lasting impact on my future. I fell in love with volleyball on the first day of try-outs where I was told that I was a born Setter. I was quick, sharp, a leader, had good form and accepted the challenge to be a vital position on the team. When I joined the team, the volleyball program at your high school was very young, so we set the tone of a program that would grow to the legend that stands today. There is a lot of history behind you and large shoes to fill.
I want you to know that you carry a very important responsibility wearing this number. It represents many persistent, hard-working young ladies who devoted themselves to be the best volleyball player they could be. I challenge you to push yourself harder than you ever have. I challenge you to accomplish three things while wearing that #3.
One. I want you to look yourself in the mirror and always remind yourself how valuable you are. You are a part of a new family that will fill a special place in your heart for the rest of your life. You will create bonds with teammates that will turn into a sisterhood. You will work hard, sweat, cry, and you will be tired. But, I can tell you that there is nothing but beauty at the end of each season where you will look back and appreciate every drop of sweat and every tear and cherish it. Even though you are one player, you are a very important member of a team that has always persevered.
Two. You carry a big responsibility to represent not only yourself, but your team, your school and that #3. You contribute to the success and reputation of the team at your high school. I challenge you to allow yourself to make mistakes because mistakes are how we learn and refine ourselves. Pick yourself up and push yourself to always be a better leader and a better teammate. You will not always be perfect so don’t be hard on yourself. Have pride in who you are and the team that you represent. Always respect yourself, your coach(es) and your teammates.
Three. I know that it is hard to see today, but what you learn on this team today will carry with you into your adulthood. The friendships that you form on a team is very important. It’s not like the friendships that you form in classrooms. Your teammates share that important responsibility and you are all working for a common goal; to win. This is a special bond that cannot be formed any other way. It will give you girlfriends that can last for the rest of your life, it will teach you to work hard for the outcome that you want, to feel pride in who you are and the image that you represent for others, and it will teach you to work within a team. These are skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. To be a leader in the world, start by being a leader on the court! I promise you it will take you places!
High school can be tough, but being a part of an important team will help you release the stress. Use that stress as strength on the court and you will do great things. So, I thank you for wearing #3. I know you are going to do great things on the court and in life. Thank you for being a part of a program that takes pride in who they accept onto their team. Go get ’em girl and give your absolute best on that floor.
-Nicole (Class of 2006)