I am excited that you are going to be part of my last season. My previous seasons were filled with emotions that range from excitement and laughter to blood and tears! And, I would not trade it for the world. I know next year will be another memorable year that I will look back upon with a smile on my face. We always have a good time with each other no matter the situation. I will always remember the good times I have had with my teammates, but I would love to remember us as conference champions.

Although we have been a successful team these past two years, we have not accomplished the goal of winning the conference tournament. All of the returning players know how it feels to work hard all year long, and lose in the post-season. It is one of the most heartbreaking things you can go through. Our coaches felt it, the athletic staff members felt it, and we felt it. We do not want to have to relive this feeling again!

Because of those shared emotions, our coaches decided that our theme this year will be “DEMAND MORE”. We need to demand more of each other, the athletic staff, coaches, sports medicine, and academic faculty as well. We realize in order to demand more of others; we must first demand more of ourselves. This does not mean go out and run a million miles a day like a mad woman. It simply means an extra hour of shooting, eating healthy, working harder during fitness and lifting sessions, getting adequate rest, and studying a little longer!

As a sophomore, I can recall our team in the center of the court in one of our daily huddles. I remember a senior at the time, saying “I want to be able to look back at my senior year and say there’s nothing more we could have done”. It has been a year and a half since she said that, but those words still come back to haunt me. I could have given more that season. I want to be able to say what that senior said in the huddle when I exit here and know that we left it all on the court. Therefore, I will give more this season, and so will you!

Welcome to one of the most amazing journey’s of your life. Your experience here will be what you make of it. One thing I promise you is that you will have tons of fun and grow, both an individual and as an athlete. If there is anything you need we will all be here for you.

Have a great summer. I will see you in the fall!

Your teammate

Throughout my career motivated individuals have surrounded me. This inspiration at times was tough to feel during the daily grind, and other times the real life energy was obvious. When our paths cross, I am proud to see that the athletes come up to me for a handshake or high five and the stories they remind me about put an instant smile on my face.

This new segment will showcase the letters that many have written, myself or the athletes and coaches that I have worked with; to share their inspiration with those we call “teammates.” As you read through the messages that are shared, please remember that what is inside you can separate you from the rest. Look around and you may be surprised how many others are in need of just a little enthusiasm to push them closer to their goals: professionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I will begin with a letter that I sent to a team that I am still very proud of to this day. No names needed. Just a sincere message that I hope can impact others to pay it forward by giving energy to those around them.

Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. How are you preparing your team, coaches, administrators, staff, co-workers, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to have a positive mindset in both good and challenging times?