Every time I look up in the stands I see you there, supporting me, cheering me on. You tell me I played well over and over, even when I constantly contradict you because I think I could have played better. You hug me when tears start to trickle down my face after losing a close game that I know we could have won. The only constant between every sport I’ve ever played, win or lose, home or away, is that every time I look up in the stands I see your faces sitting there, encouraging me to do my best and play hard.
You both started doing this before I even realized the impact it would have on me as a person. It started when I tried dance when I was 3, then gymnastics when I was 4, and soccer when I was 5. It kept going through the countless sports I played growing up, you name it and I probably played it.
The two of you drove me everywhere, trying to balance your own lives and work, on top of my brothers and my own busy schedules. You both were extremely selfless in all you did for us, always putting us first and making sure we both succeeded as much as possible. You’d bring us to all of our tournaments and book hotel rooms for us to stay in for over night weekend trips. You never complained about it either.
In fact, I never once heard you complain about the financial part of it. I can’t even begin to imagine how much money you put into buying all my equipment and paying for tournament fees and club dues, but I’m forever thankful you did it.
You also made me realize that everyone has potential, but it’s what I do with it that matters. Sometimes I hated when you pushed me and I know I gave you a hard time after many losses and tournaments that didn’t go as hoped. Now I know it was only because you cared and because it wasn’t worth it for you to watch me not work hard during every game I played.
Thank you mom and dad for being my biggest support system. Thank you for never giving up on me as an athlete or as a person. You always told me I could do better, but it was only because you knew all I was capable of. You never gave up on me when I felt like a failure and you always told me that I’d do better the next time.
Thank you for helping me fill out college questioners and driving me around the country looking at different college athletic facilities. Thank you for meeting different coaches with me when I was scared out of my mind and needed a little back up support. You provided me with the best possible resources and experiences growing up, which allowed me to reach my dream of being a college athlete. Thank you for that. You always encouraged me to reach my dreams and never give up.
I know I can never thank you enough for all the hours you’ve spent on the road and out of work to watch me play, but it means more to me than you’ll ever know.