• This is a personal essay that I wrote in college. My professor at the time asked the class how Sports or participating in athletics impacted our lives. The assignment was an essay answering the question "What I learned from Sport?" here is the answer to that question.

    What I learned from Sport?

    I don’t have this intense story about how sports got me through a dysfunctional home or how I was a troubled kid who needed to find my way.  The truth is I grew up with an amazing family, not to mention an incredible extended family.  I have two extremely supportive parents and two older brothers that have been and always will be my best friends in life.  So what did sports teach me that I didn’t learn from these wonderful people that surrounded me in my own home?  Sports in my house was part of all our lives, it was something that we always did together as a family.  Whether it was playing sports together, watching sports on TV or going to live contests.  My parents used sport as a model for our behavior.  They always encouraged us to work hard, show respect, have good sportsmanship, and simply just enjoy the benefits of healthy competition.  I was one of those little girls who always wanted to “play with the boys.” I participated in every after school sport that was offered and quickly came home to have a catch, hit golf balls, play tennis, you name it we did it and I couldn’t get enough.  Although I would say I was not an “outgoing” little girl, I never felt shy or intimidated when I was playing sports, I just had fun.  Not only did I find a love for playing sports, there wasn’t a game, match, competition, tournament of my brothers that we didn’t all go to as a family.  Both my brothers also participated in after school sports and going to watch them play and being “little Williams” on the sidelines put a huge smile on my face! 

    I remember being able to play school teams for the first time in Middle School.  I was very confused as to what sports I was going to play because Middle School has four seasons so you had the opportunity to play everything.   For some reason I found a love in the game of Volleyball.  Being 5’4, maybe at the most then, and now being 5’6 I wish I would have broadened my horizons. Never the less the choice I made to play Volleyball is something I would not change.  In 7th grade I remember vividly getting ready to try out for the school team and the coach at the time saw something in me and encouraged me to tryout for an outside traveling team.  Now I forgot to mention that same year my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and the thought of playing on a team outside of school never occurred because of what my family was facing.  (On a side note, my mother is alive and doing very well!) George, my middle school coach, called my parents and said he thought that I would really enjoy playing in this particular league and I remember how great it felt that someone else besides my family recognized how much I enjoyed playing.  Well I played in that league for 6 years, and although my only regret is that I wasn’t allowed to participate in other school athletics I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.  I got to travel all over the country and play in tournaments overseas meeting wonderful people, to whom I am still friends, and of course with my parents right by my side.  Although I play a great deal of Volleyball, I try to dabble in other sports as well and I am fortunate to have people surrounding me that still want to have a catch, hit golf balls, play tennis etc. 
    I have also found a great passion for running.  Having participated in team sports throughout my life I have really enjoyed the total peace that I have when I am going for a run by myself.  In one of my classes in college I read an amazing essay about the impact that running can have on a person’s life, I am thrilled to say that my eyes have been opened to that passion as well.  I try my best to run in races, I have done the NYC half marathon twice and my goal is to one day participate in the NYC full marathon.  Running brings me a sense of self accomplishment.
                So what have I learned through Sport? Everything! Today I am a Physical Education teacher and coach because of this passion. I have also learned to focus a great deal of my energy on the importance of “staying healthy” and proper nutrition.  As a PE teacher I know that not all kids are going to be great athletes, however if they could enjoy physical activity and have the confidence to participate to me I have been successful in what I want to teach my students.  Sport definitely has a great impact on my life. I would be a liar if I said that without  my family Sports would mean the same to me as it does now.  I am so grateful for Sports but I am more grateful for the people around me that used such a wonderful tool to teach me the standard lessons in life that so many people don’t have the opportunity to learn.