The support beam of an athlete

It takes a player to play the game, but for athletes worldwide, it takes something a little more to be successful in their sports. Whether it is a coach riding you about your performance, a teammate who always has your back, or a mom with a minivan and a carpool schedule, every athlete needs one key thing in order to be successful in his or her athletic career: a support beam. For me, among many, that beam is my parents.

My parents have been involved in the world of athletes for far longer than I can remember. From the moment my brother could walk, he has been going from gym to gym playing basketball, requiring my parent’s full commitment whether that may be a ride to practice, a bag full of snacks, or the best of the best equipment. Five years ago, when I decided that I wanted to play volleyball, my parents evidently knew that the grueling and time-consuming lifestyle of being an athlete’s parent would continue with me.

For the longest time, the only sport my parents have ever known was basketball. They have spent the past twenty years watching my brother play, so when I broke the news that rather than partaking in this sport I would spend my life playing volleyball, they were not exactly sure how any of it worked. Even though in the beginning they didn’t know the rules of the game, they still showed up to every event of mine with a smile on their faces.

Sports schedules are unpredictable. Despite the fact that countless of our events—whether it was for my brother or myself—were never in near proximity, my parents never hesitated to pack up the car and head over to wherever we needed to be, even if that meant leaving at the crack of dawn to make it there in time, only to sit in hot gyms, rep team apparel, and cheer on their kids.

My parents have continuously put their lives on hold for the sole fact that watching their children succeed has become a dominant factor in their lives. From rides to and from practice to providing snacks for tournaments, my parents have pretty much done it all. 

No matter the circumstances, my parents have always made sure I had everything I needed and more in order for me to do the one thing I love most. Whether it may be a new pair of shoes or a pat on the back, they have never failed to show me that no matter what, they are here to help me succeed. As a student-athlete, my athletic performance and my grades are two very important things to me, and although there are times when trying to keep up on both becomes too much to handle on my own, my parents have always been in my corner to carry the weight that I fail to carry at times.

Yes, an athlete’s performance may be what showcases his or her talent and skills, but without the constant support from those around him or her, his or her careers will never fully take off; the true talent behind an athlete is those who stand by to support him or her at all times. There truly are not enough words to thank my parents for being my personal chauffeurs, my cheerleaders, and my support beam, but for now a simple thank you will have to suffice.