She Taught Me How To Love Again.

By Jerold Wells Jr.
Updated: July 9, 2005

MINNESOTA—As an aspiring sports journalist I make it my business to involve sports in my life, in some way, everyday. This being the case, I sometimes take my love of sports for granted. I will slack off on reading box scores of basketball games from time to time or I will fall away from watching SportsCenter highlights periodically in the name of alternate recreation. This trend was forever destroyed when I met a member of the University of Minnesota Women’s Volleyball team in a class last semester. Her quiet personality and thoughtful insight did not scream “student athlete” but she would eventually prove that both parts of the word described her well: especially the athlete part.

The most exciting sporting event I have ever witnessed in person occurred at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) representative Georgia Tech traveled to the “U” to compete in an NCAA Tourney Sweet Sixteen match to determine who would advance to an Elite Eight match up with the Ohio State University. In sports there is a quote that says “the best players shine on the biggest stages.” The stage was certainly set on this night. Every point was hard-fought and every pass, spike and dig was coaxed with “ohhs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. A game with so much at stake could only be won in grand fashion. Someone would have to shine on that night and provide a performance worthy of the occasion. Filling the role of a true “go to” offensive player she tallied a career high kill total and led her team to victory. I will always remember that performance as that of a true athlete rising to a challenge and succeeding. She trusted in her preparation and produced when her team needed her.

I learned valuable lessons from her that night. For the length of the semester, I witnessed her dedication to school and athletics. I noticed her passion for her sport, her willingness to dive, scratch, or fight for the next point. That passion completely redefined to me what it means to have heart, what it means to give your all. It means that no matter how sore your knees, ankles, or shoulders are due because of a grueling preseason, regular season, and NCAA tournament, that as soon as the lights come on and sneakers hit the floor winning is all that matters.

In every person, a great degree of affection lies inside for a myriad of different things. While we do not all have the same interests, we as people should all know what it is to love. We should all know what it is to enjoy an activity so much that it consumes you. For some people it is a hobby, for others it is a sport. My passion is sports and I’m glad that she showed me how to love again.