Here I am, a 20-year-old blonde, livin’ out my purpose here in the heart of Texas. I’m in the middle of Waco’s very own Baylor University when I’m not home in Dallas with my family, and I enjoy having a big glass of sweet iced tea on a porch swing. So… what makes me different than the mainstream girl I’ve just described?
I was raised in the small town of Haskell, Oklahoma, population 2,000. Maybe. I lived deep down a gravel road in a doublewide trailer, with horses, a barn, and a new litter of baby kitties every spring. Running and playing in mud holes with overalls and messy hair, I knew nothing but love, and the next game. With my parents both being collegiate and national-level athletes, I developed a deep, deep love for the game. Any game.
The prominently competitive girl sport in Oklahoma was, yes, softball. I won’t lie, I loved it. And rocked at it – thanks dad. I distinctly remember the evenings where we’d be up on the high school field, taking ground balls. The sun would be going down, lightning bugs making their way out to play, and the busyness around the world (where were you?) would spin on. But all I had, all I knew, was when my dad finished telling me how hard champions worked, that ball was coming off the bat to take nasty hops in the dirt to get past me.
When the Lord revealed His plans for my family, we knew we had to migrate south. Moving to Dallas was a huge challenge for me, in every aspect. The size of the church auditorium could seat all of Haskell. Life around me immensely intensified. My sister, brother and I adjusted and love the new opportunities Dallas has for us. But, now you all know where my heart is…on a back road somewhere. On a football field on Friday night when the whole town shuts down to go cheer on the boys. In a pond where I caught my first bass. Down a trail where I drove my first four-wheeler. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it all. It makes me who I am…its why I’m different.
As a family, we drive on athletics. The rides home after games and the talks that derive from us watching film together – mom, no one does a better job filming – are some of the most prized words I tuck away close to my heart. Because athletics are not just about skill… anyone who has competed knows that skill is only PART of the journey. Sure, it’s glorified, but isn’t that what our nation is about now anyway? Beauty remains in the unseen. Athletics give you the opportunity to succeed when putting yourself last. It’s about pushing yourself to limits you didn’t know you could reach, limits you surely couldn’t reach alone. Wait – what limits? Athletics keep you up at night because you fear someone out there is working harder than you. It’s the never-ending passion you can’t coach or teach – the desire comes from within.
The game day talks, smoky run-throughs, the reel of film, the pregame silence and pregame hype, the endless heat on the turf, the tears you choose not to withhold, the click clack of cleats on the concrete, and the smell of any leather ball – all get me/channel my inner baller/bring me to SUCH a level of realness. That’s why my dream is to be on any field anywhere, watching while somebody else wholeheartedly works for theirs.