You are more than a competitive sport to me.
You are more than a game I play for a living.
You are much more than I ever imagined you to be.
You mean more to me now than my twelve-year-old self could ever comprehend.
Let me tell you why.
I struggled with self-worth from a young age.
This world tries to shame us to believe we are not good enough.
I fell into that trap at an early age.
I let my physical appearance define me and make me fell less than.
My smile was crooked. My bottom jaw protruded much farther than my upper jaw.
I had an underbite.
Not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. I know that now.
When I could not find my place in this world, I found it in you.
When I experienced major anxiety every picture day, I found a confident version of myself at practice.
When I dreaded public speaking, speeches and meeting new people, I craved to be in the spotlight on the court.
When I felt fear in every day life, I found courage in you.
When I felt lost, you gave me purpose.
You kept me above the water throughout my life.
I found my identity through you.
If you were not there, I am not sure where I would be.
I am not sure I would be here.
I have to apologize for how I treated you as I got older.
As time went on I began to resent you for the same reason I now love you.
You were my scapegoat.
I blamed you for feeling like I did not have a purpose outside of the sport.
I blamed you for taking me away from life's big events.
I blamed you for the distance in my relationships.
I blamed you for the void I often felt.
I am sorry I forgot how much you did for me.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than just a volleyball player.
I took things into my own hands and left you.
Not once, but multiple times.
You did your job as best you could.
I stepped away from you more times than I would like to admit.
But, you came back to me in the most miraculous of ways.
I thank God for that one.
He knew I needed you.
You always provided me a space to be myself with out limits.
You showed me the world.
You introduced me to my greatest friends.
You gave me all life’s most memorable experiences.
I am entering my sixth season on the Canadian Women's National team.
I have sixteen years of playing you under my belt.
It makes me weep.
Like really sob.
I thank you.
I thank God for placing you in my life.
Time and time again.
I have to tell you something though.
I do not feel like I need you any more.
But, I want you.
I want to play for all those years you gave me.
I want to show you what you mean to me.
Now that I have found my worth in God's love, I can give you the love you deserve.
It is not about what you can do for me any more.
It is about what I can do for you.
And when I am running my 14th suicide in practice this summer, I hope to always remember that.
You were there.
You saved my life. Truly.