A letter to the next No. 2

After playing her final volleyball game last week, a senior writes a letter to the player who will wear her number next.


COURTNEY REDMON / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Dear No. 2,

First, I want to say congratulations. Becoming a Division I volleyball player is an accomplishment in itself. This is the culmination of years of dedication and sacrifice for a single sport.

Being a freshman at a Division I institution is single-handedly the most difficult transition you will ever encounter. You will have to wake up at 6 a.m. for workouts every day. You will lose your breakfast at some point during sprints. You will miss class in the name of traveling. You will return to campus from Kansas, for example, at 1 a.m. on a Monday and be expected to be sitting in your 8 a.m. class that same morning.

You will go through physical, emotional and mental stress beyond your comprehension. You will forfeit Thanksgiving with your family every year. You will not see home for the entire Summer II and Fall terms. I could go on and on about the trials and tribulations that are ahead of you.

So why bother? Why willingly put yourself through such difficulties during what are supposed to be “the best four years of your life?”

Foremost, playing a sport in college brings the promise of an education at either a reduced cost or for free. Temple is an amazing institution with an even better academic reputation. The knowledge that you will gain at this school is priceless, beyond the cost of an athletic scholarship.

No matter what you decide to study, whether it be political science or international business, take it seriously. Because of my focus, I was able to graduate in three years and earn my master’s degree during what should have been my senior year. You have the opportunity to be whoever you wish academically, and your athletics should not and cannot overshadow that. You are a student before you are an athlete; remember that, always.

You also get the chance to play the sport that you love at the next level. For female volleyball players in the United States, participating at the collegiate level is the highest level you can play at besides the Olympics. You are considered a professional at your sport, and that is an accomplishment.

Somewhere between the endless workouts and practices, there will be days when you cannot remember why you fell in love with the game in the first place. During the spring semester of my junior year, I was juggling practices, workouts, 18 credits, an internship and a student government campaign. I found myself incredibly overwhelmed and overworked.

I was able to utilize volleyball as an escape rather than another chore on my to-do list. This allowed me to fall back in love with the game the way I did when I started playing at age 13.

I implore you to hold onto the love that you currently feel for volleyball. Being an athlete will teach you perseverance, responsibility, trust and determination. Most importantly, it will teach you how to ask for help. It will be tough, but nothing easy is ever worth having. Above all, remember to have fun.

Playing at Temple also means that you will get to experience life in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. My personal escape lies within the walls of Reading Terminal Market, where any type of food you could think of is at your fingertips.

Take advantage of the city and all that it has to offer. Get off campus and explore. Get involved in community service in your neighborhood. Make Philadelphia your home.

Single-handedly, the best part of being a college athlete is your team. When you step on campus, hidden within the chaos of preseason and transitioning into college life, you will realize that you have 14 built-in, lifelong best friends.

The team will be your backbone when you are feeling weak. It will be your sounding board when you think you are crazy. It will be your support system when you need someone to talk with. It will happen, trust me.

Above all, it will become your family. Love and cherish the experiences you will have with your teammates because, in the blink of an eye, four years will fly by.

As a senior who has hung up my jersey for the last time, I am full of many emotions. After finishing in the top three every year of the conference standings that I have been a Temple Owl, the 2017 team qualified for a postseason tournament for the first time in 15 years. The National Invitational Volleyball Championship represented our hard work and tenacity finally paying off, and for that, I am so thankful.

We proudly wear that Temple name on our chest, and I hope that you wear No. 2 proudly, too. Looking ahead to my life after volleyball, I am grateful for all of the opportunities that I have received from this sport and this university.

Thank you to my No. 1 fan, my mom. Thank you to my teammates, coaches, professors, advisers, trainers, family and everyone who has helped to make this four-year rollercoaster surpass even my wildest dreams.

I am not sure of my post-graduation plans, but I know that my experiences at Temple have prepared me for anything life throws at me. My hope is you will have an even more amazing four-year experience. Go Owls.

Janine Simmons

can be reached at janine.simmons@temple.edu
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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