At the end of this season, my coach started a new tradition of writing a letter to the person who wears your jersey next season–whether that be yourself again or another player for whatever reason–and because I’m graduating in May, my letter is to a new player. I was honestly really excited for this letter because I loved what it stood for and the impact that I could have. Plus, I really enjoy doing this type of creative writing. In my letter, I wanted to pour out everything I’ve felt, done, thought, strived for, committed to, etc. in my time wearing jersey #2. I wanted this letter to have purpose and meaning even long after I’m gone.
And honestly, after writing this I was dang proud of what I’d written (not to toot my own horn or anything) and I decided to share what I wrote in my letter with you. I know that more than likely, none of you who are reading this will be the person who wears jersey #2 after me, but I hope that you can relate if you are/have been an athlete before; be inspired or motivated for your own life journey; read encouraging words for yourself. I hope that this letter moves you in someway the same way it moved me in writing it. So without further ado here is my letter:
To the player who wears jersey number 2,
First and foremost, I hope you wear this jersey with pride. Whether the road to get here has been difficult or easy, long or short, planned or spontaneous, you’re here. Be proud of everything you’ve done to get to this point, of how hard you’ve worked and the times you wanted to give-up, but didn’t. You have earned this. Wear this jersey with confidence: in your abilities, in your team, in yourself. You are part of an amazing program with so much support. This team is composed of a great group of girls and coaches that push you to become your best—physically and mentally. The most important tip I can give for success in this program is hard-work and discipline. Every single day give your full effort, give 100% of what you can because while it may be hard in the moment, it will be worth it in the end. It’s not always the size and talent of a team; more often than not it’s the teams that work the hardest, and are the most disciplined to do what they need to do that’ll win. Every time you step onto the court, lay it all out there and leave with no regrets.
I don’t know if #2 is your number, the one you’ve always had, or whether you just selected it. For me, it was my number all through high school (both school and club) and I was so excited to be able to wear the number 2 on my back in college. This number brings back so many memories, reminds me of all the times I persevered and pushed through adversity, of the hard work and dedication I had to put in to get me to where I wanted and ended up. I hope that the same can be said true of you wearing #2. Whether they be past memories or new ones you create, remember what wearing #2 means for you. As you go through your years as a member of UTD Volleyball, always remember what you have, are, and will accomplish wearing this jersey. You have so much potential individually and as a team: potential to accomplish, to go far, to make history. Don’t use it as pressure, but rather as an opportunity to work hard and reap the rewards of your efforts. And no matter how the results turn out, believe in yourself and know that you gave it your all to get to where you are.
Lastly, I hope you think of all the people who wore jersey #2 before you. Not just me, but all the players since the program started in 2004. All the players who came before you and worked their butts off to get the program to where it is today. Play for them. But also think of all the players who are to come after you leave. Think of what legacy you want to leave behind and where you want the program to be. Play for them. Play for something bigger than yourself—whatever that may be for you. Enjoy the game, enjoy the opportunities and the memories, it goes faster than you think. But most importantly, above all else, I want you to remember this: Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.