Hello Friends and Family,
This whole business of going to a foreign country, learning their language and culture and trying to adapt to a new volleyball system is tough stuff. Now, before I go any further, let me be clear. I know that I’m getting an amazing opportunity that isn’t afforded to many. That fact is not lost on me, and I am grateful every day. With that being said, my adventure has been a tough adjustment. I’d like to say my daily life consists of frolicking around extravagant gardens (jardins) and eating fresh baked pastries, but it’s not the case. Okay, well maybe the fresh baked pastries part is true. My daily life consists of either weights, cardio or practice in the morning and another practice at night. I’m currently in the process of adjusting to a new style of training that is very different from how I trained at Penn State. I have received good advice that I shouldn’t try to compare my former and my current situations too much, and to just embrace the new experience. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t rely on what I’ve learned from my time at Penn State in order to succeed in France.
One thing I do know for sure is that I played volleyball for four years at The Pennsylvania State University. When I think about this I feel proud, honored, and humbled in knowing that I was a part of something so much bigger than myself. As all the amazing women in my Penn State Volleyball family know, we survived Russ Rose. That is a feat that can’t be taken lightly. (Hi, Coach! ) The things I’ve been through in South Gym, aka Club South, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way have made me a tougher person. As I think back on my days in the gym I know that’s where I learned how to truly compete, to always go hard with everything you’ve got. I felt the support of teammates who will forever have my back. I figured out how to have fun while still being serious and dedicated to my training. Most of all, I learned lessons through the sport of volleyball that spill over in to how I deal with situations in my everyday life. I know Salima’s new banner hanging above the doors says ‘What happens in South Gym stays in South Gym.’ But what I’ve been through in there I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I know what I can handle because of what I’ve been through. For example, I am still here today to talk about the repetitive hitting (wrist snapping) incident of Thanksgiving practice 2010. Cue laughter from all my former teammates (I’m glad we/I can laugh about this now). Also, can anyone say: one-person-pit or timed four-courts? For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I used to think ‘consider yourself lucky.’ However, now, I’m not so sure. I’m starting to realize that I’m the lucky one for having been through that.
There are times now at practice when I feel overwhelmed. The drills we do are complex and usually involve several balls at once. On top of this, my coach is speaking in French. For the days when it’s all sounding like gibberish, I remind myself it’s just volleyball. Even if I can’t control how things are explained to me, I can control how hard I play. As Coach Rose said to us many a time, ‘Life’s not fair.’ People aren’t here to cater to me and make sure I understand every little thing. It’s my job to take care of myself and control what I can. It has been hard work to push through this adjustment period, but I know I’ve been through more challenging situations. I know I’m stronger than the adversity that is being thrown my way. No one can take that away from me. And that is how I push through.
“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” –Robert H. Schuller
PS- So proud of my girls killing it in their first Big Ten match vs Wisconsin. Cheering from afar! Keep working hard. #PennStateProud