Senior Letter Series- Sam Mendelsohn

To the place and people that have changed my life forever,

As I sit here writing this letter, I can’t help but feel a flood of emotions. These years have come and gone, each passing with new struggles and achievements. Every opportunity that I have been presented through athletics at Geneseo has gotten me to where I am today, and for that I will always be grateful. To be completely transparent, I did not want to write this letter whatsoever simply because it meant that the end is just that much closer. But now that I am, I am able to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly that has been my collegiate athletic experience.

Imagining my life without volleyball at Geneseo is nearly impossible. The people that I have met have impacted me in so many ways that I struggle to sit here and put words to it. My coaches, teammates, and athletic trainers have made it a priority that my experience here is one to remember and they most definitely have succeeded in doing so.

My freshman year, I came in as shy and unsure as could be. Being in a new place, with people that I have never met before was not something that I was necessarily comfortable with. However, one thing that I did find comfort in, was being in the gym playing the sport I loved. Slowly but surely, I was able to come out of my shell and my teammates were nothing but supportive and welcoming along the way. My freshman year taught me so many things, but specifically:

  • Be yourself.
  • Accept that you will struggle.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.

Final Season Record: 17-15. Lost to Brockport in the semifinals on November 4th.

Sophomore year I was more than ready to get back in the gym and compete. Coming off a monumental season, I knew that this team was more than capable to succeed. The people that were once strangers to me quickly became my family and the connections we had with one another only grew stronger during year two. Other teams now recognized that we were a force to be reckoned with and that Geneseo Volleyball was not what it used to be. Throughout sophomore year I most definitely changed for the better. I learned many valuable lessons, but specifically:

  • Trust your instincts.
  • Lead by example.
  • Work hard.

Final Record: 23-11. Lost to Fredonia in the semifinals on November 3rd.

Junior year was unlike any other, but not necessarily in the most positive way. I struggled. I struggled a lot. Both physically and mentally I was pushed to my absolute limits and felt lost in more ways than one. My volleyball skills lacked, my leadership skills lacked, and my confidence lacked. One thing that was a constant for me, however, was the love I felt from my teammates. Even when Schrader Gymnasium felt more like a prison than my escape from life, I came in every day knowing that someone would put a smile on my face. That in and of itself is something so special that I will forever be grateful for. Junior year allowed me to learn so much, specifically:

  • Prioritize mental health.
  • Take care of yourself before trying to take care of others.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Final Record: 22-10. Lost to New Paltz in the finals on November 3rd.

And now, senior year. To be honest, I feared that this season would pick up right where my junior year season left off. I didn’t know if I would be able to get back into a groove or if volleyball would even mean as much to me as it did before. To my pleasant surprise, the exact opposite happened. I have felt a love for the game that I have never felt before and have realized how much it truly means to me. I have made a conscious effort to enjoy every day because I know that my time is limited. Although my senior year is not over yet, I have already learned so much, specifically:

  • Don’t stress (or try not to as much).
  • Enjoy the little things.
  • Leave the place better than when you found it.

Final Record: To be continued…

Although records and stats have always mattered to me, what has come to matter the most is the experiences I have had. The experience of pushing that one extra rep when your body feels like its failing you. The experience of coming into practice every day and accomplishing one little goal at a time. The experience of testing your mental limits. The experience of joining a new family.

These are the moments that I am going to miss the most.

Each and every one of my teammates has impacted my life. From the seniors that were here when I first came in, to the freshmen that are now just joining our family. Please know that each and every one of you has made me not only a better athlete, but a better person. Thank you for teaching me so many valuable life lessons and for experiencing all of the ups and downs with me.

Geneseo Volleyball, thank you for letting me be a small part of your amazing story. I would give anything to stay, but I know that I am ready for whatever life throws at me because of you.

GSUVB will always hold a special place in my heart. No matter what.

Love always,

Sam Mendelsohn

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