By Jamie Vandermause
"Putting on your jersey" is obviously something every athlete does before a competition. Whether it's quickly sliding it on in between warm-up times like we do for volleyball or actually making it a pre-game routine in the locker room, every athlete takes the time in some way, shape or form, to put on a jersey before stepping out onto the field of play.
But does everyone take time to think about the meaning behind the jersey? To me, it's more than just a required article of clothing we all have to wear. Having the opportunity to be able to wear my jersey means a lot to me in many ways.
Growing up, I had never planned on playing volleyball. It wasn't until a coach gave me a push in the direction of volleyball and convinced me to give it a try. As soon as I started going to volleyball practices and open gyms in middle school, I started to really like the sport. Between the practices and matches we would have each week, it kept me wanting to play volleyball even more. Before I knew it, I developed a love and a passion for this sport that I had just picked up. As I continued to play volleyball, I always looked up to the older girls who played in middle school, as well as on club and high school teams. They were my role models and I wanted to be just like them. This gave me the drive and motivation to work hard on and off the court to get better and to get to the next level of play. Playing college volleyball became a dream of mine. Getting to that point was my goal.
After high school, I decided to attend UW-Green Bay. My opportunity to play college volleyball came last spring when Coach gave me a shot and allowed me to try out for the team. After about two weeks of training with the team, my dream came true! I felt I had accomplished my dream when I earned the opportunity to wear the Phoenix jersey, and I still do today. Whenever I put on that jersey before game time, not only does it make me feel unique, but it also makes me thankful and grateful for being a part of the both the Phoenix Women's Volleyball Team and the Green Bay Athletics Program. I feel proud to not only be a part of and represent the team, but also proud at the fact that I am able to represent my family and the people who have supported and helped me along the way to get to where I am today. Being able to wear the jersey is definitely a blessing to me. I feel that when I put that jersey on, I am able to represent the Lord and all of the blessings and opportunities He has given me throughout my life as well.
With all of that being said, there is more meaning behind putting on a jersey than most people may realize. Having the opportunity to be a part of and represent your team, family, friends, and the Lord is really, if you think about it, quite a blessing.