I recently read a wonderful article, “How I Learned to Love My Body as a Female Athlete“, written by USC’s Junior Libero, Victoria Garrick. Since reading the article, I’ve had time to reflect on what Garrick wrote and believe that on so many levels this piece is an important read for female athletes of all ages because as you train, your body changes. Sure, we experience all types of changes in our everyday life, some are minute, while others are monumental, and some may have a small impact on our lives, while others may be significant. But when ‘change’ changes you it can be daunting and uneasy, but often times that change can propel us to new places or help build character, but only if you let it, take the time needed to understand and reflect, and find the light even if all you see is darkness.
What does it mean to you to be a female athlete? It likely means something different to everyone, and that is exactly what our Strength & Wellness Coach, Jessie Hernandez, said in a piece she recently posted on her website, “The Evolution of the Feminine Athlete“. This is an amazing and stimulating piece, and without giving too much away, she ends the piece beautifully, by highlighting female athletes that have found the light, and have learned to embrace changes.
We could dedicate an entire blog series to change, especially given a lot of the changes around us, but I want to focus on the subject of the article, being a female athlete. As a former collegiate volleyball player myself, I remember seeing those changes as a result of morning weights and afternoon 2-hour practices. I changed and I saw my teammates change, the physical changes our bodies went through were not always easy, tearing muscles only to build them again, and then repeating the process, in the weight room and on the court, getting stronger and quicker, and bigger? Bigger, never a word a girl wants to hear, but that is what was happening. To some, the change was not a big deal, but to others it was, and as you read this you’ll fall somewhere along that spectrum. However, one thing is for certain, we’re all in this together, not only you and your teammates, but us female athletes. As Garrick points out, society has told us that we must be quiet, gentle, and soft, but know that we can and will also be powerful, strong, and bold. Remember that you define who you are both on the court and off and make it a conscious effort to build the confidence of those around you, especially our family of female athletes. It truly is all about character through kindness, not only for others, but for yourself especially.