Thursday, December 6, 2012

Buffalo Roots Pt. 2

Now that I have left all the readers hanging for about two months, I think it is time I continue my real-life story as a collegiate athlete.

So here I am sitting against the wall with a freshly sprained ankle, icing my foot just wishing I could be out there playing again. I received very little sympathy from my coaches, if any at all. As I said in the previous post, I was out of practice for only two days until the coaches told the athletic trainer that she could clear me to play because the injury was all in my head. There was no way this injury was all in my head. I have never seen a sprained ankle like that in my life.
Sprained ankle after about one week playing
Against my will, I was put back into practice and as mentioned in Buffalo Roots. This is when my dream soon became my worst nightmare.

My first practice back I was very timid and a bit cautious when I was playing. I tried my best to play through the pain and just focus on getting better. Unfortunately, my coaches did not see my effort and simply focused on breaking me down little by little.

Let me share with you some infamous quotes that are forever ingrained in my brain from our assistant coach:

"Hey Megan! If you think like dog sh*t, you are going to play like dog sh*t."

"Go back to the 8th grade, Megan!"

Me: "Hey guys, two more points and we will tie it up!"
Assistant coach abruptly stops practice, "Wait, what did you just say Megan?"
Me: "Umm... two more points and we will tie it up?"
Assistant coach: "Wow, that was the smartest thing you have ever said in your entire life."

Lets just say that I held back my tears the entire practice with a huge lump in my throat. The moment we got let out of that torturous four-hour practice and I headed to the locker room, I broke down completely and did not stop crying till around midnight that night.

From that practice forward I was never treated with respect or appreciation again. Slowly, the coaching staff tore me down mentally and physically.

Between the mental abuse and excruciating practices which ran well over NCAA mandated time, I completely lost confidence in myself and my love for volleyball was dwindling.

The sport that I fell in love with at a young age now became a part of my day that I feared from the moment I woke up. There was only a small portion of the day where I could be at peace and that was those couple hours after practice. As soon as bedtime came around, I was immediately dreading what was to come the next day.

The season seemed to last forever. Every practice I prayed that I would not be ridiculed, every game I hoped that they did not put me in so I could not them a reason to hate me and every time I saw them I tried to suck up to them, knowing that there was nothing I could do to be respected by them.

The new coaches came into the program with an agenda. They wanted to break all the players down and make them hate volleyball. They wanted every player to quit so they would not have to get rid of them. They wanted all of us to leave the program so they could use our scholarships to bring in their own players.

Although things did not go as smoothly as they had planned, they succeeded in their quest for a new team. By the end of the season they had kicked one girl off and made two girls quit midway through the season. In our year end meetings, all of the scholarship players except for one were accused of misrepresenting the program on Facebook and were told that our scholarships were on the line.

Without any proof, a week after our meetings all but one scholarship player were told we would not be coming back on the team and that our scholarships were being striped from us.

I think what tells this tale the best is that two girls that were paying for their schooling and were not on athletic scholarship were offered full-ride scholarships at the end of the season if they would stay on the team.

They declined.

Today I can write this story knowing that I am in a better place and only became stronger from it. However, it took some time. I debated getting a lawyer and fighting for my scholarship because I knew it was a battle I could win. It simply was not worth it.

I am happy to say that I completed my final three years of eligibility at a school I have fell in love with. I have amazing coaches that brought me to NC State and gave me back my confidence. The NC State Women's Volleyball program has meant so much more to me than most people know.

I can finally say that my dreams came true.

No comments:

Post a Comment