The Opportunities Sport has Given Me
As a professional and collegiate tennis player, I believe that playing a sport not only reveals character, it builds it. It is not that good character and integrity are automatically developed by participating in sports but rather through circumstances that normally arise in the competitive arena. Looking back at my career, I feel blessed to have been introduced to tennis at an early age and provided the structure that unintentionally inculcated in me the following; commitment, discipline, sacrifice, goal setting, inner will and determination, all of which are necessary for success in competitive athletics.
Pursuing tennis was a path like none other. It gave me the opportunity to travel the world, interact with different cultures, develop time management skills, create strategies for improving my skill set, build a sense of focus and determination, develop skills to handle pressure, learning the know how of when to take calculated risks and taking responsibility for my own success or failure on court. As I began my career as a U.S collegiate student athlete, a new dimension was introduced. The concept of working in a team environment and leading by example were vital. I developed a sense of playing for something bigger than just myself and to pull for my teammates by celebrating their individual success just as I do my own. I was part of a group that, in spite of the different backgrounds, grew up on similar values as a professional athletes and this only helped me maximize my own potential.
Upon graduation, I realized that my journey as a professional and collegiate athlete had developed in me all the qualities that potential employers hold dear; teamwork, communication skills, leadership, time management, working under deadline pressure and the ability to find to proactively seek a solution to potential problems. The time, effort, hard work and dedication that I sacrificed for the sport both on and the off the court paid off by setting me apart as a sought after candidate.
The nature of competitive sports gives an athlete the opportunity to develop strength in any or all of the above areas. To this day, I thank my family for introducing me to tennis, which forced me to understand and work on developing my character at a young age. This allowed me to #DreamBig and have the necessary tools to achieve those dreams. As a note, I would encourage all junior athletes to not get obsessed with wins / losses, but to push yourself to the best of your ability everyday. Engage yourselves in the moment and have a vision of what you want from the sport, regardless of the outcome. If you do that, you will reap the benefits in the long run.
Work hard and #DreamBig