Definition of A Champion
Of the several definitions of the term “champion,” I believe that one is true to its core: “one who fights.” I am proud to say that after four years of struggling, I am able to call myself a champion. Fighting for my position on the court, fighting past the physical challenges of the sport, fighting against those who labeled me merely as ‘the coach’s daughter,’ I have grown not only as a volleyball player, but as a person.
High school volleyball was full of challenges for me. I started out as a freshman on the Junior Varsity team, my father’s team. Although I did have a lot of experience in the sport and natural athletic ability, I was never fully confident in my place on the team. I was a starter who played all-around and was voted co-captain by my teammates. I couldn’t help but feel as though these accomplishments were based more on my label as ‘the coach’s daughter,’ rather than on my individual talent.
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The next year I was moved up to Varsity and the following two seasons were very challenging. I was forced to play different positions and felt very insecure among my older teammates. I was physically tested at practice and mentally tested with the coach’s tough criticisms and drama among my teammates. And although I was not playing under my father, I was worried that my coach was biased towards me because of my father’s position in the volleyball program.
I had many reservations entering this past volleyball season as a senior. There was a change in the coaching staff and once again I was ‘the coach’s daughter.’ I was also worried because I was entering the season not having played club volleyball during the off-season. I was concerned that as a senior I would not receive playing time or even worse, that I would only receive playing time as a result of my father’s bias. This drove me to work harder than ever before. I came to practice every day, put out my best effort, and tried to be a leader on the court. As an individual, I became a better player and I believe that I contributed to the team’s overall success during the season.
After this long journey of frustration and loss, I reached the moment that defined my volleyball career: the OIA Division II Championship Game. It was a difficult match, but our team won the necessary three out of five games. The feeling that overcame me when we won the final match point was indescribable. I hadn’t ever felt so proud of any other accomplishment in my life. For the first time in Kaiser High School history, the volleyball team won a championship. I was a champion. Not only because the word “champion” was inscribed on the trophy we received or because it would be shown on the gold banner that would hang in our school gym, but because I had won that moment. After years of fighting and pushing, I have earned the title of a champion and no one will ever be able to take that away from me.