I remember the day I had my first practice.
Well not everything, but a few details stick out in my mind. I was in grade 5 and a teacher had asked my sister and I to tryout for the volleyball team. We tried most things together due to my shy nature, so I was happy to tag along with big sister for the older age tryout.
That day we ran through the most basic drills. We learned how to ‘bump’, how to set, and probably how to serve (Holla if you can’t serve underhand anymore to save your life). And there was something that stuck with me.
I was a natural. It was as if my hands and my feet knew what to do. Like they had been there before. No, I wasn’t an international level player at 10, not a chance, but I was talented and I worked hard.
Through the years I stuck with it through the good and the bad, and the reason I’ve come so far is because of one word that drove me.
I persevered when a coach told me I would never be good enough to make the National team. Proved him wrong when I was one of 14 girls selected across Canada for the youth National team just a year later with a starting spot to boot.
I persevered when I had Osgood Schlatter’s which would often leave me sidelined. Coaches doubted my drive and thought I was faking the pain when the pressure was high. I showed them how serious I was when I accepted a University scholarship to play for powerhouse UBC.
I persevered during 2 professional seasons when my coach made me feel like I was nothing. I showed him I was more than something when I scored the championship point 2 years in a row, being named MVP of the final.
When I was young people doubted my drive and ability to work hard. They assumed I was talented and coasting along. Sure it stung to know that's what people thought of me, but doubters fuel the fire.
What they would never see is the hours I spent outside with my sister or mom playing pepper until our arms hurt. Maybe they didn’t notice I was the first one in the gym playing around with the ball and took my time before leaving at the end. Or maybe it was the fact that I was one of more quiet girls on the team that meant I wasn’t serious about the game.
Now, people get to see my victories, and share in my stories of joy. But it has taken hours of work to get here. From club season, to National team, to beach season, back to club season. Hours in physio because everything hurts, hours in the weight room becoming stronger. Practicing skills 100 times over until you can't get it wrong. Refusing to lose in every small sided game, cauldron, warm up game (seriously, I love tennis, 3v3, 2v2 you name it I'm all in).
Nothing was ever handed to me a silver platter. I expected the best so I gave my best. Every damn day. And when I couldn't find my best, the intention was always there.
Someone once told me “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” because they doubted my work ethic.
Well, I can’t say I’ve heard that one ever again.
A word of advice if you want to get to the top;
You’re going to have to earn it.
Think you’ve done enough?