A Thank You to the Sisters Who Made a Difference-By FY Grace Thomas

Hello there freshman setter Grace here. Happy to be writing this letter for you all to see the true appreciation that I have for a certain three sisters. Sisters who not only were all my coaches, but who have become kind of a family to me. Sisters that made a difference and people who I will always be thankful to have met. 

First starting with the youngest of the three sisters, Becca. She is the smile and reassurance that I always looked to on the bench. The person that always seemed to lift my spirits and calm my nerves during an intense match. She was my play caller, my mind when I was frazzled and the rock that held me steady, even when I thought I couldn’t be. She always knew what to say in order to get me right back on the court and perform to my full potential. She is a true inspiration and someone I hope that everyone is able to find in their life. A light that shines in the darkest of times. She many times has given me the strength and heart to perform in a match and I am forever grateful for that. You truly are a diamond in the rough, one that I will always cherish and remember. For that I say thank you.

Now for the middle sister, Breanna. The JV coach who pushed me to the best of my abilities and prepared me for competition at the varsity level. She is a very down to earth person and has a deep love for the game. When it comes to game time she is right there with you through the ups and downs and feeling all the emotions. She has a desire to make each and every player on her team better than where they started. She is a coach that is tough on you at times, but only because she cares and knows that you have what it takes to succeed. I just wanted to take this time to just say thank you. Thank you for never giving up on me and pushing me to be the absolute best I could be. You have truly made a great influence on me and have impacted me more than you know. 

Finally the oldest sister, Brittney. The one that I would take to the front line with me every second of every day. The one who has truly shaped me into the player and person that I am today. Brittney is a dream coach, one that pushes you where you physically can’t do anymore and also the one that when she laughs makes the rest of the team laugh with her. Every practice she made you a better player, even if you didn’t know it yet. She pushes each and everyone of her players and doesn’t stop until they have become the volleyball player that she sees in them. She is the person that feels every victory and defeat with her athletes, nothing feels better than after winning a championship, and looking over at her seeing her jumping up and down, just like the rest of her team. Britt you are an amazing coach and person, and I want to give you the biggest thank you for everything that you have done for me. I don’t know where I would be today in my career if I didn’t have you right beside me. 

One final thank you to all of these sisters who have made me realize that playing volleyball is more than volleyball but about family. I appreciate you all teaching me how to love the game of volleyball like a Horton does. 

Love,

Grace

A Letter to Someone Who Inspires Me – JR Kiersten Colvin

Dear Grandma-ma,

I am lucky to say that I come from strong independent women like you. Although everyone who knows you may refer to you as “Crazy Peggy”, I think they are just envious of your scrappiness and the way you get things done. You went from a bookkeeper to an entrepreneur, raised three kids, taught religion classes, and probably did so much more I do not even know of.

As a kid, you would always take us to the apartment on 19th and 1st  and bring us to the coolest places like the Christmas Spectacular, Chelsea Piers, and the Bubble Show. It wasn’t until I was around 10 that I realized we were subletting the apartment to college kids whenever we were not there. Unfortunately, we had to stop. But to this day, I am in awe of the city and dream about living there one day.

Even now, without grandpa and your deteriorating memory, you still manage to live the best life possible. You are still a landlord and rent out both the basement and upstairs apartment (after completely renovating the basement post Hurricane Sandy). You even got a dog after every person in the family and the dog shelter told you no. In your “Crazy Peggy” ways, you had Aunt Kathleen get you one. But we should’ve trusted you because you and Muffin are living a great life together. Of course, this is besides the fact that you force the upstairs tenants to unnecessarily buy Muffin ice cream from Mister Softee every night.

Your ability to get what you want and do it in an unconventional fashion is something I admire in all aspects of my life. In volleyball, I understand that a point is a point and a win is a win. It does not matter how I get there, as long as I keep fighting smarter. In school or work, I look towards simpler solutions, delegate tasks, and sometimes deviate from the instructions. You inspire me to fight for myself, bend the rules, and go after what I want.

You are an amazing lady that has raised some amazing people. I am sure grandpa is smiling in heaven watching how you’ve handled yourself and our family these past 15 years. Thank you for making me laugh every single time I talk to you and being a role model throughout my life. I hope I can bring at least some “Crazy Peggy” energy and do something that will make you proud.

Love Your Granddaughter,

Kiersten

A letter(s) to someone who inspires me. A blog by FY Jackie Borland

Hi all! First year Jackie Borland here. I don’t want to go too far off course especially because this is my first blog post EVER, but I decided that instead of writing just one letter to someone who inspires me, I decided to write 6 smaller letters, each one to a different person who almost perfectly models one of our team values of excellence.

Class 

( Respecting all aspects of the game by staying humble and having integrity)

Dear Steph,

While I have only known you for a year or two, you have always approached things with a humble attitude. In fact, I didn’t even know that you played for a national Canadian volleyball team until a year of us knowing of each other! You have accomplished so many awesome things in your life, but I admire how you never highlight your successes because you respect other people and are considerate of their circumstances. You also stick to what you believe in and stand up for others who can’t which shows strong integrity. Thank you for not only modeling how a volleyball player should treat their teammates and opponents, but also how a person should treat others.

Pride

( Being passionate about the opportunity to be a part of the Geneseo Volleyball program)

Dear Papa,

If there is one thing that I have learned from growing up as your granddaughter, it is to be proud of the things and organizations that you are involved in. No matter what the activity or group is, you have always given all of your effort and never miss out on the opportunity to tell someone how passionate you are in whatever you are doing. Thank you Papa for modeling that it is great to be proud and passionate about  things that you really care about.

Urgency

( To be relentless in the pursuit of our goals)

Dear Candice,

As long as I could remember you had your goals set on working at Disney. With the many challenges you faced a lot of people thought that goal would be out of reach. But you focused on your dream and though you had many setbacks along the way, you never wavered. Thank you for modeling what it looks like to never give up and never give in to those who say it’s impossible.  

Selflessness

( No matter your role, always serve the team’s interests before individual interests)

Dear Melva,

You are the epitome of someone who has a servant’s heart. Not only do you put others’ needs ahead of your own, but you do it without seeking or expecting rewards, recognition or even gratitude. You are a grandma to four of my favorite kids, have been a nurse for more than half of your life, you foster and adopt dozens of animals, and lovingly volunteer to assist children with disabilities. And of course you know all of this, but it never ceases to astound me that none of the things you do are out of selfish nature, but instead the opposite; they are done out of pure love. 

Accountability

( The responsibility to hold self and teammates to our values of excellence at all times)

Dear Harry,

Because you set such high standards of character for yourself, you bring out the best in those around you. Rather than judging others, you humbly model faith and excellence. As a result, those  around you automatically want to be better people. You believe in us so much, that we don’t want to let you down by being less than we can be. 

Happiness

( Enjoying every moment and embracing every experience)

Dear Len,

You are 93 years young and loving every minute of your life. You are never seen without a positive attitude and a smile on your face no matter the situation. You enjoy the moment that you are in and it shows by the joy you have while doing so. You are excited to talk with others and check in on the people you love, always willing to listen and offer encouragement. Len, thank you for modeling what it looks like to be happy and grateful for the things and people you have in life.

Crazy 8

Hello fellow Geneseo Volleyball fans, my name is Gabby Ayzenberg a junior, libero/DS and I am back with another blog. I hope in these crazy times everyone is staying safe and healthy. So for this week I want to write a thank you letter to the 7 amazing people I started off with in this program and started this whole crazy thing called college with. Mary, Erina, Kiersten, Alex, Bridget, Allison, and Moose this one’s for you guys.

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Mary, thank you for bringing your love and support to me throughout the past 3 years. We once were strangers who decided to live together freshman year and it turned into one of the best friendships in my life. Thank you for showing me it is okay to feel emotions and be who I am on and off the court, even if others do not appreciate it. Thank you for ALWAYS being just a little bit weirder than me and constantly telling us the weird things that happen in your life (sometimes they really aren’t that weird). 

Erina, thank you for always laughing at anything I do even though half the time I don’t even think it’s funny. Thank you for being the reasonable one in the friendship and reminding me things aren’t as big of a deal sometimes. Your laugh literally can make anyone else in the room laugh even when they don’t know what it’s about. If you guys ever need to know the name of a song or movie or tv show hit her up. Thank you for always being down for a nice episode of New Girl at any random time of the day. 

Kiersten, thank you for being the most responsible person in the friend group and reminding us all to sit down and study. Thank you for your competitive energy on the court and willingness to show others how hard you work each and everyday. That competitive energy also comes into march madness and everyone needs to be quietwhile Duke is playing. Thank you for always helping me with any school problems I had and taking the time to help when I had no idea what was going on. 

Alex, thank you for always being just as competitive as me and pushing me every day in practice to be better. Your fire and love for the game motivate so many others around you. Thank you for being wild and being the randomly artistic one and always writing things or drawing things for me when I can’t make it look nice. Thank you for understanding me and respecting me as a player and growing our friendship. 

Bridget, thank you for being someone I can always go to with any issue and get some sense talked into me. Thank you for always laughing and having a good time together even when we may not be doing anything. Thanks for the constant breakfast runs sophomore year and being my bus buddy for the first two years. Thank you for being an absolute baller on the court and owning it cause you should. Thank you for teaching me that some alone time is really healthy and good for you.  

Allison, thank you for being absolutely wild and not changing for anyone.You know exactly what you want and go right after it. Thank you for showing all of us that we shouldn’t care what others think of us and we should always do our own thing. Thank you for the random small talk conversations that turn into hour conversations in the hallways.

Moose, thank you for your constant support and honesty with all of us. You know that if someone needs to be told something it’s for the better. Thank you for your beautiful closet and directions on how to pose properly or smile properly. Thank you for always being down to go grab some pizza at any point of the day.

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Why Geneseo?- By SO Morgan Michalski

Hello blog readers! This is sophomore setter Morgan Michalski coming at you live from… my house. I am currently home for spring break but hope to return back to Geneseo (aka my favorite place to be) soon. While I know the world is having a rough time dealing with the situation at hand, I hope the GSUVB blogs are brightening up your day. So with that being said, I think the best way to express my love for Geneseo is to first tell you how I chose Geneseo.

Let’s start with the first time I went to Geneseo. As my junior year came to a close, my parents encouraged me to begin looking at potential colleges. Since I knew I wanted to play volleyball, I found that the easiest and most enjoyable way of looking at colleges was to attend their summer volleyball camps. Geneseo was the last camp I attended. As the saying goes, I certainly saved the best for last. So my mom and I packed up the car and made our way to Geneseo. We got to campus with plenty of time so we decided to get lunch and walk around Main Street. I still remember walking past the Big Tree Inn, Mamma Mia’s, and the fountain. As I walked, I immediately could imagine myself spending my free time shopping and walking around this beautiful place. After experiencing Main Street and all it has to offer, it was time to play some volleyball.

Move in day freshmen year!

As I stepped into the gym, I was met by the members of the class of 2020. It was crazy to think that this encounter was almost two years ago. I could immediately tell there was something special about this team. Spending the time walking around campus talking to the players, who I did not know at the time would be my future teammates, felt right. The campus was exactly what I envisioned when I thought about what my perfect campus would look like. At the end of those two days, I knew that Geneseo was the place I wanted to attend. While I visited a few more schools, my desire to attend Geneseo remained unchanged. I chose to apply for early acceptance, and I still remember that day I got home from school and opened my acceptance letter. I was excited to call myself a Knight.

My sophomore year roomies!!!

Each day I am reminded of how grateful I am for my decision to join the Geneseo community. While I recently made the important decision to change my major, I was met with much support from my coach, my academic advisor, and my professors. The experience emphasized that I am in good hands when it comes to my education.  Geneseo has given some of my best friends. I have had the opportunity to work as an orientation leader (OL) and share my love for the school with incoming freshmen. My favorite thing about being an OL is that I can share my experiences both in and out of the classroom. I also can not forget to mention the incredible people that make Geneseo even more AMAZING, my team of course. The people of GSUVB are “my people” and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to have them as both teammates and friends. Each time that I put on the blue and white uniform I am reminded of how happy I am to be at Geneseo. Geneseo is my second home and I will always be proud to call myself a Knight.

The best team in the world

With all this in mind, you may still be asking  “why Geneseo?” My most basic answer would be that Geneseo is a place full of opportunities. A place to receive a supportive yet challenging education. A place full of organizations, clubs, and events that allow students to try new things and meet new people. Lastly, it is a place where everyone in the community will hold a door open for someone even if they are 10 feet away from entering the building. I have found a place where I belong and I hope I have convinced you of that 😉 The school slogan that “there is no place like here” says it all. 

Thank you for reading!

Morgan Michalski

A Letter to My Younger Self – Mary Bartkus

 

Hey Little Mary,

YO! Mom gave birth to you on November 28th, 1999. But let’s skip forward because you obviously can’t read yet.

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Hungry baby Mary

You’re 6 now. You moved to a new school and just asked some girl to be your friend on the third day of 2nd grade. You’re embarrassed, I know. But don’t worry, she’ll be one of your best friends for a very long time, even through COLLEGE. Ew! College? You mean the place your sisters are right now instead of hanging out with you? Don’t worry, when you get older you can hang out with them whenever you want.

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Awkward 9 year old Mary

Elementary school! Cool! I don’t remember much but I do know your 4th grade teacher will be your only friend in your class that year but honestly you’ll be fine with it because you were weird. Your 5th grade teacher will show up to your volleyball senior night and send you a card for high school graduation, so give her lots of hugs for me.

 

You’re in middle school! Already. You feel so grown up. Truthfully, looking back, you are a typical annoying, bratty little kid still…but you own it. You are loving life, school is a breeze, and you are a three sport athlete. Good for you! I wish I had that kind of energy now. Honestly, I don’t know how you went to three different practices some days. But hey, here’s a sneak peek…volleyball is going to be the one that changes it all.

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Even more awkward middle school Mary

High school! It feels like I was just you yesterday. But it really has been a long time. You stopped running track (no longer a running girl, huh?), but keeping up with basketball and starting to put your heart into volleyball was a very good choice.

Look at that, the same friends you made 10 years ago are still with you. They are going to be in it for the long haul. Be thankful for your tight-knit class, your friendly teachers, your coaches, and especially mom and dad. They are all rooting for you and want you to do great things!

And look, you will survive AP Biology and Calculus. You are doing all the right things.

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Senior year class trip to Virginia Beach with Chloe and Alexander, the friends I made in 2nd grade!

 

You are looking at the right colleges. Thank god you listened to mom on the way to that Rochester volleyball tournament about SUNY Geneseo and reached out to the coach. That is going to end up being really important.

Now, I don’t really have much advice for you, young Mary, because I truly believe every decision you made brought me to be in the place I am now. I’m sure the only thing younger me would want to know is what I’m doing now…

I’m a JUNIOR in college. How. Weird. You decided to continue playing volleyball in college too, just like you dreamed of. You decided to stick with science, as expected because you were always good at it (…but it got a lot harder so please pay attention in class).

You’re still going to be the same weird person you’ve always been, sorry about that one. Fortunately, you decided to go to SUNY Geneseo, where you could make friends just as weird as you. Believe me when I say, those people at Geneseo are going to be there for you for everything. Pretty much you are going to have the best time in college, just like everyone keeps saying.

Mom and dad are doing well and they moved back to Long Island! Look at how it all comes full circle. That girl you asked to be your friend when you were 6 is still around, and still one of your besties. You scammed some other punks throughout the years to be your friend and they seemed to stick around as well.

Here’s some random facts you may also want to know about the future:

-No one says “swag” anymore besides you in 2020…that went out years ago.

-The world did not end in 2010…obviously.

-You will get a few small tattoos, oops.

-Jenna Marbles still makes YouTube videos for some reason.

-There is a new app out called TikTok that is more addicting than Vine. Spoiler alert!! Vine is gone now, like the app is gone forever.

Before this gets any more ridiculous, I am signing off. In all seriousness, don’t worry about the future and growing up. There are so many good things to come.

A Thank You Letter by SO Emily Bablin

Hello everyone, Babs here! There are so many people I would like to thank for helping me get to the place I am now. HOWEVER, I can be a ranter and will rant so am restraining myself so this is just a blog, not a book.

Firstly I would like to thank my rock, my family. Growing up in a big house meant that mom and dad were not always going to be there to help you in everything (though they sure came pretty close). My sisters have always and will always be my best friends. We have carried each other through life and I cannot imagine a world where a single one of them is not there. They pushed me to not only be a better person but better athlete and volleyball player as well. My younger sister, Katy, would constantly be out in the front yard with me peppering until it was too dark to see the ball anymore. All of them found their way to one of my games last season despite being extremely busy and dealing with school too. The real MVP’s are my parents. Despite having 7 kids, these two managed to go to nearly every game, tournament, or practice for all of us. I don’t know what kind of sorcery that is as it seems impossible yet they do it daily. My parents were the ones who made me take up volleyball in the first place (picture 6 year old me on a theater stage with tennis balls). While initially it was not my favorite activity by a long shot, I grew to have a deep love of the game which would never have been possible without them. Thank you for being my coaches, cheerleaders, therapists, and most importantly, thank you for being mom and dad.

Now I would like to thank my current team and teammates. It is so crazy thinking back to a year ago. I was a scared second semester freshmen about to try out for this team. Unsure of myself, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and give collegiate volleyball one last shot. To this day this decision has been one of the best choices I have ever made. Not only did I find myself a fantastic team, I found a family who would stand by me no matter what. While obviously I do love balling with my bros as that’s the name of the game, GSUVB has given me so much more than I could have ever asked for. Each and every individual on this team is fun, unique (yes definitely VERY unique), hard working, and most importantly good people. I am so thankful to every teammate who greeted me with open arms (even though apparently everyone thought I was a sophomore last year for the longest time). I cannot wait to share the next two years with this team and be absolute UNITS on the court and goofballs off.

I believe that is all for now or else I WILL make myself cry. Over and out,

Babs ❤

A Letter to Someone Who Inspires You by FY Isabella Imbo

Dear Dad,

Thank you. Thank you for raising me to be the person I am today. Thank you for the nights you spent reading to me out loud. Thank you for the endless boat rides. Thank you for pushing me into waves when I tried surfing. Thank you for playing sports with me, whichever one I was most interested in at the time.

Thank you for making me independent. Thank you for putting your children’s needs before your own. Thank you for coming home after working all day and making me dinner, and still finding time to feed the cat. Thank you for giving me the life I have.

Thank you for talking to me when I am sad. Thank you for giving me advice, even when I don’t want to hear it. Thank you for always making me feel better.

Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for watching movies with me. Thank you for cooking gourmet meals with me, no matter the fuss. Thank you for telling me entertaining and funny stories. Thank you for all of my happy memories.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. Thank you for telling me about your childhood memories (no matter how many times you retell them). Thank you for engaging in conversations with me. Thank you for being humble. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.

Thank you for always supporting me. Thank you for not letting me give up on my commitments, no matter how much I pleaded. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to school, which I know so many kids don’t have the privilege of doing.

Thank you for driving me to countless volleyball games and tournaments. Thank you for supporting my involvement in volleyball. Thank you for always encouraging me.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for your love.
Love you Dad

Love, Isabella

A Visitor’s Guide to Geneseo

There is no place like Geneseo, it may be small but there is no shortage of things to do. While everyone may say that their college town is the best, Geneseo is truly unique.

To start, I’ll be describing Main street. The road is filled with restaurants, bookstores, and shops. If you’re looking for a place to eat you have many options including Mama Mia’s, Geneseo Family Restaurant (Kiersten recommends eggs and toast, however, I think the GFR omelet is spectacular), University Hots, Lighter Side, Crickets, and Bar-Eat-O.

If you are looking to shop for Geneseo apparel you have Royalties. Main Street also has a hair salon, book store, and many other cute shops.

If you are an incoming Freshman you will probably be housed on the south side of campus, where the Roemer Arboretum is located. If nature isn’t your vibe there is also a beach volleyball court nearby (where the class of 2021 won the southside tournament). You also have the newly renovated Red Jacket dining hall.

In the middle of the campus, you have your academic buildings. Geneseo is doing a lot of renovations to our campus so, soon it will look spiffy. You also have Macvittie college union which just turned 50 this year. In the union, we have our mailroom, Starbucks, and the bookstore. If you’re looking for a place to relax we have a room that has massage chairs and sleeping pods.

To watch a sporting event you can stop by our beloved Schrader gym (my favorite place on campus) where we have held many SUNYAC Championships for both women’s volleyball and basketball. Or if you prefer hockey for some weird reason head over to the Ira S. Wilson ice rink. Or you can go to New College Stadium where the field hockey team won the 2019 SUNYAC Championship this fall.

No matter what you are into, there is a place for everyone in Geneseo. The best part is that no matter where you go there is always someone you know.

A Letter to My Younger Self-Blog by SO MK Saladino

Dear younger MK,

I want to let you know that every decision you are making right now is leading your older self to the moment she is in now and you are exactly where you need to be. Every tough decision has led you to the path you are on right now and I would not change a single thing.  

First, I am going to bring it all the way back to when you were five years old. Those days life was great! You were a dope baller (basketball and softball of course), school was a piece of cake, you were incredibly shy, and boys had cooties. The only advice I have for you is, trust me it’s not the end of the world if you can’t style the hair you want to that day because mom says it looks crazy. Listen to mom, she knows best. 

Fast forward to middle school, you’ve tried basically every sport and your favorites are basketball and softball. Sports still come easy to you. Mom made sure you always listened to your coaches and didn’t sugar coat it when you had a bad game or weren’t trying hard enough. School is still a piece of cake for you and this is when you start to get less shy. You absolutely hate the fact that you are shy and want to be able to have fun in any situation without feeling awkward. You force yourself to talk to people and make tons of friends (girl friends of course because boys still have cooties). At this point all I have to say is I know you are trying very hard to branch out and make friends, but still be yourself. Don’t try and change just so someone else will like you. 

Now you’re in high school. This is where you make the best decision of your life and decide you want to try volleyball. Only now, you are not the only athletic one around. The summer before ninth grade, you go to one volleyball camp to learn how to play, but that was not pretty. You thought it was enough though because sports still come pretty easy to you at this point. You show up to high school tryouts with your two friends and don’t take it as seriously as you should have because you’ve never had to. You put the effort in, but you laugh and mess around a little bit more than you probably should have considering there were 37 freshman trying out and only seven were going to make the team. After tryouts your friends and you take a look at the team list and to your surprise your name is not on that list. You are heartbroken and shocked. This is the first rejection you have ever gotten from any sport. You are upset and mad at yourself because you know you could have tried harder. 

That day you learned a very important lesson that has shaped you into the player you are today. Always give 100% effort in everything you do and don’t ever think that you are guaranteed anything. Everything you do, you have to work for and earn. Sure you were naturally good when you were younger, but now you’re older and this is the real world where everyone around you has talent. You need to prove yourself to coaches. That day created a fire inside of you and I cannot thank you enough for following your heart and not giving up. You knew that this sport was not any ordinary sport. Something about it created butterflies in your stomach and all you could think about all day was wanting to get your hands on a volleyball. You knew that your volleyball career did not end here. Thank you for having the courage to not give up. 

Now you officially start high school, this is a very different experience for you. You start a new school, everyone around you has athletic talent, school isn’t as easy as it once was, you are uncomfortable and become shy again. This is when you decide to quit all other sports and stick with volleyball. You tryout for club (taking those tryouts seriously because now you know) and make the team. This is the best club season of your life. This is where your true love for the sport really grows you make some of your best friends and it’s amazing. 

My advice for my high school self is to not care so much. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Just show people the real you and if they like you great, if they don’t, it wasn’t meant to be. Be more confident in yourself. I know you had a rough start to volleyball but your skills have grown so much. Stop caring so much about what other people are thinking and just go out there and play. 

Now it’s senior year. You are awful at the college process. You blow it off for a while, but I know that’s mainly because you are scared. My advice to you is, stop being so scared, it will all work out. You are stressed about making the wrong decision because you’ve had such great experiences with volleyball this far that you are nervous your luck will run short. This will  not be the case one bit. When you show up to Geneseo preseason you will realize that it was the best decision you could have made. You will fall in love with the school and the team. Your love for volleyball will continue to grow. You will feel comfortable right from the start and that awful shy stage you hate going through will be the shortest one yet. 

As I am getting older, the biggest lessons I am learning are; follow your heart, take risks, be outgoing, be confident in yourself, and always give 100% effort. The only time you will have any regrets in life is if you know you could’ve given more. Thank you young MK for all the decisions you made that have led me to where I am right now.

Love Always,

An older and wiser MK (not much wiser though, still a lot of learning to do).