Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the beginning...

Many people have been wondering how a girl who claims to be from California but lives in Arkansas got into bobsledding. I'd like to say that the simple answer is that I dream big dreams and follow them. But the reality is that God is faithful and He seems to enjoy giving His children the desires of their hearts, especially when those desires are used to spread His glory.

I have wanted to give bobsledding a try for what seems like forever. I don't know what exactly triggered this desire. Maybe it was the movie Cool Runnings, maybe it was watching the Olympics on TV, or maybe it was a little bit of both. I do remember one particular instance during my senior year of high school when my dream was solidified and I started to tell everyone that I was going to be a bobsledder someday. Of course everyone thought I was crazy and told me it wasn't going to happen, but I didn't listen. After all, the two ladies I had just watched win the first ever women's bobsled gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Games did it. I was hooked.

I did my research over the years. I sent my athletic information into the Bobsled Federation, but nothing ever came of it. I planned to go to a tryout, but it never happened. After I graduated college I figured that my athletic days were over so my bobsled dreams started to fade away. And I just tried to keep my athlete days alive by following my football dreams (and that is a story for another day).

Then God brought me to Augusta High School (also a story for another day), where I am the Head Girls Basketball Coach and a PE Teacher. I started to work towards being the best coach possible and trying to make a difference in my athlete's lives. I was ready to completely retire from competition myself and focus on becoming a winning coach. Then during my first year of coaching, when I least expected it, I received an email about applying for the Women's Tackle Football National Team. Glory to God I made it! Through that experience I realized that maybe there was still some juice left in this old washed up athlete and maybe there was a bigger purpose in all of this. However at that point Bobsledding had almost completley fallen off the radar.

Then in my second year of coaching, I was spending a Sunday night doing what most coaches do: watching film and getting ready for our big games that week. When all of a sudden, something randomly popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. I must have clicked the "like" button on some bobsledding pages the year before when I was watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. The "Seeking Future Olympians: US Bobsled and Skeleton" Facebook page said something along the lines of "desperately seeking female brakeman". I think my heart skipped a beat.

It had been 8 years since I watched those Salt Lake Games in High school. And 6 years since I tried to try out for the team. I thought I was retired. But next thing you know I was e-mailing Olympic Bronze Medalist Elana Meyers about Bobsledding. And soon after I was in the back of a bobsled and hanging out at theOlympic Training Center.

But really, at that point I was still set on coaching. Still set on leading my girls to a State Championship. Bobsledding was just kind of another fun adventure.

That was last March. Since then I've been up to the Olympic Training Center for a combine, and then to compete in the National Push Championships. And now it's looking like I may be able to make one last go at this. It's crazy how things happen when you least expect them. Oh, and those two ladies that I talked about winning the gold in Salt Lake, I had the honor of competing against one of them (Vonetta Flowers!) at push championships.

I'm still very far away from my Olympic Dream. The truth is that it is not very likely for anyone to get there, much less me. But I'd be lying if I said that wasn't still my goal. And waking up every morning at the Olympic Training Center seems to be a step in the right direction. So next week, I'm headed to New York for hopefully a while. We have National Team Trials, and then it looks like I will be headed off as a brakeman on the Americas Cup Tour.

Live the Dream!

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