Monday, August 26, 2019

Reaping Rewards

As summer is winding down and school is beginning once more, I’m taken back to last year - most importantly, the start of my last season of volleyball. 

Before I began my senior season, I sat down and talked with my coaches about a major decision I had made in my life. I had recently received the position for District I President, which meant I was about to undergo some large conflicts within my schedule. I was scared of disappointing my volleyball team, but I was also terrified of letting down my District team. Both were counting on me, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to make things work. 

When I had the conversation with my coaches about the games and practices I would be missing, they were understanding about it. They told me that an open line of communication was going to make my schedule work. That they still needed me on the team, even if I wasn’t always there. 

But sometimes, open lines of communication don’t fix everything. 

About two weeks into the season, we had our first two games. I was benched for both, as I didn’t have enough practices in. That was really hard for me since it was our last season and I wasn’t on the court with my classmates. Eventually though, I had enough practices, and was able to get back out on the court. 

But not to the degree I wanted. 

I would go in for a set, maybe two if I was lucky. But never an entire game. It was one of the most frustrating things I had ever had to deal with. I showed up early to practice, went to every optional practice offered, made sure the line of communication was open, and put in the work whenever I could. Sure, I missed a few practices and games, but I was committed to doing my best. Why wasn’t I reaping the reward?

The entire season, I was frustrated with this thought. Even after the season ended, it made me angry to think about how my entire senior season I was usually sitting on the sideline.  

It wasn’t until recently that I realized why I sat the bench.

I may have thought I was committed to the sport. That I worked as hard as I possibly could, and that my heart was in it. But I really wasn’t, and my coaches knew that. My coaches saw where my true passion was, and it wasn’t volleyball. My heart wasn’t in the sport, and they couldn’t put a player on the court when they didn’t want to be there. 

Looking back, I wish I would have realized this earlier. I spent so long regretting the season, wishing I wouldn’t have “wasted my time” playing the sport that I never actually got to play. If I would have really looked into it, I would have noticed how supportive my coaches were of my FFA career and all that I was doing. They weren’t trying to ruin my senior season - they were trying to help me get to where I wanted to be in my FFA career. 

I sat the bench because the passion I had in the blue jacket outshined my passion for being on the court, and my coaches wanted to support me in that. Not because my coaches didn’t like me, not because I didn’t care, and not because they didn’t care. No. It was because they did care. They cared about my future, and I am forever thankful for that. 

I have coaches that support me in everything, on and off the court. People who care about me as a person, not just me as an athlete. Individuals who taught me lessons early on that I wasn’t appreciative of in the moment. 

All last year I asked myself why I wasn’t reaping the rewards of my hard work, when in reality I should have been asking myself how I could repay the hard work my coaches put in to help me get to where I am today. 

If you’re questioning why you aren’t reaping the rewards of your hard work, take another look at what you’re doing. Look deeper into what you’re passionate about and you might find the answer. And remember…. Always thank your coaches.  
Forever thankful,
Caitlyn Lewis

Monday, August 19, 2019

Try Something New

Try Something New           
When I was in high school, I went to a very limited number of sporting events. For one, I live on a farm so I was always taking care of the turkeys, feeding the goats, or grinding feed for the steers. Second, I did not play any sports in high school. I was involved in many other intra curricular and extracurricular activities. These consumed my afternoons and evenings, which meant going to sporting events was not really something I thought about. Third, I didn’t really like sports. I thought sports were silly and why would someone pay $6 to watch an hour or two of something. I refused to buy the $60 Student Ticket that would get me into anything. All in all, I didn’t really like sports. 
    Then in my junior year, I went to a few soccer games and enjoyed them. I thought it was amazing that they could run for so long and not seem to be tired. As my senior year rolled around, my sister Hannah played volleyball. Being a supportive big brother, I went to a couple of her games. I would watch her play and then leave before  varsity started. I continued to go to some soccer games as well as Hannah’s games. For volleyball, Senior night was getting really close and I was friends with basically all the seniors. I told myself that I would go to that game to be supportive of all my friends. I absolutely loved the game. The constant back and forth had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. Everytime one of the girls got an ace, the team and the bench would kick a foot out and scream “See Ya.” At first I thought it was the silliest thing ever, then as it continued through out the game, it started to grow on me. Since I was sitting in the little student section that was there, a couple of us started joining in on the little chant. It was the most fun I had had in ages and it gave the team more encouragement. By the end of the night I was a pro at “See Ya.” I went up to all my senior friends and told them how much fun I had. From that night on, I went to every home volleyball game there was. I even started to help out a bit. On the breast cancer awareness game, I helped sell t-shirts to support the Jay County Cancer Society. This gave me something to do as well as a different atmosphere to be in. 

I then started to go to basketball games with my friends Katie and Aaron. They taught me to enjoy another sporting event in the school. I went to almost every home game that season with them and loved every minute of it. Turns out that I enjoyed watching a good game of basketball with even better friends. I mean if I didn’t would I even be a Hoosier? I was able to build relationships with the people we sat around at these games that I would not have had. 
 I always thought that sports were not for me and by thinking so, I did not allow myself to get out and try something new. As a lesson, I learned to always try something new, even if I was unsure of the possible outcomes. See Ya, Dillon Muhlenkamp

Monday, August 12, 2019

Striving for the Extra Second

         "If you fail at first, try doing it the way your coach told you to do it the first time.” I wish I would have understood this my first few years of high school. You see, I was a swimmer all four years of high school and for the first few years I was very frustrated at my coach. She made me swim the 500 yard freestyle, which I hated with a passion. I began slacking in practice because I didn’t agree with coach and her methods. Every meet I would walk in hoping to see my name under a different event, but it was always the same. At one point I told coach I was thinking about quitting the team. She simply looked up, pointed at the door and said, “I don’t want anyone here that doesn’t want to be here, so if you don’t want to be here there’s the door.” She had called my bluff and I realized she wasn’t going to move me to a different event.
I then asked her why she had me in those events even though I wasn’t very good at them. She told me simply “To make you a better swimmer.” I thought about this a lot and it was over Christmas break that I realized I wasn’t going to be in another event so I might as well get good at this one. So, I practiced with a newfound strength and started improving my time. I no longer slacked off and tried to keep the arguments with coach to a minimum. After I did well in the first meet back from the break my coach did something surprising. She took me out of the 500, I was shocked and decided that I was going to have a chat with coach. she couldn’t just take me out of an event I had been working so hard to prepare for, could she? Her reasoning only made me more frustrated, it was to make me a better swimmer. She continued to move me to different events every time I was decent in one, to the point that I gave up trying to figure out her madness. When my senior year rolled around, I received the title of team captain and decided I was going to try my best to make it to the state level. I would come in for voluntary practice every chance I got, along with the normal practices. Coach decided halfway through the season to let me try a stroke that I had never competed in before, breaststroke, and I started off rough but quickly started dropping time. Coach then decided to put me in one of the only events I had never swam before, the 200 IM which is a combination of all four strokes. I realized that I was really good at it for not having swam it in a meet before. This was due to my coach making me practice every stroke until I was decent at them. I also had the endurance to swim the very tiring event because I had experience in the 500. During sectionals our relay team missed going to state by .7 seconds and all I could think about was, what if I would have put faith in my coach back in 9
th and 10th grade? What if I wouldn’t have slacked off? Would my team be going to state? When it comes to giving effort, always give your best as soon as possible. The sooner you start working hard, the sooner you will see results. Go out and get the results you will want in the near future, because they won’t show up today. Getting faster, Eion Stephens

Monday, August 5, 2019

Unintended Lessons

“Forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold, all you need is in your soul, you can do this if you try, all I want for you my son, is to be satisfied.” These lyrics probably sound familiar from either hearing Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd or you have met my Grandpa Albert, in which makes these lyrics come to life or simply is just a prime example. If you have the chance to meet my amazing Grandpa here’s some of the first characteristics you might notice. He is calm, caring, open minded, never is mad, and a man who lives for Jesus. My favorite thing about my grandpa, is his appreciation for the little things in life. Growing up with grandpa we always played the best games with our imagination or games in the car. My favorite game was hide the pencil. I became frustrated because he always hid them so well, I never could catch on. Another game is, you pick a color and however many cars of this color you see on the way home, you tally up and the one with most points wins. Hanging around my grandpa you often hear him say appreciate the little things in life.

 My grandpa is a man of many lessons, whether intends them to be or not they are. My grandpa is one of the most artistic people I know. He tells me stories about how is aunt taught him how to paint. Sometimes we would watch Bob Ross together. If I was to remember one thing Bob Ross said it would be, no mistakes, just happy accidents. When my grandpa was teaching me how to paint, he hears the words, grandpa I cannot believe I messed up again. Followed by this, he tells me to stand up look back and he says look at the overall picture. Does this one little ‘accident’ as he calls it define what your picture is? Or does it make it unique? As I am so frustrated and can not believe I messed up again, my grandpa looks at me calmly and said “ Taylor, take a step back, does this mistake change your entire picture, or does it make it what it is?” These words stick with me as I imagine my life in an overall picture. I sometimes find myself frustrated, that I can’t seem to do anything right or that nothing is going the way I planned it. Then, I remember the wise words of my grandpa, “ Taylor, take a step back and look. Does this change your overall picture?” I remain calm as I know my grandpa would and put my faith in God. My grandpa always has a smile on his face, no matters what has happened. I have never once heard this man complain, unless country music is on the radio. I often think to myself, if I could be half the person, he is, I would be doing okay.

Always Learning, 

Taylor Roy