My mom recently sent me the article about THS’s volleyball coach Fawnda Rogers. I couldn’t help but smile as the article doted on about Fawnda’s dedication to her team through her intense lessons about volleyball and life. Every sentence developed a memory in my mind. The truth is, words cannot explain what coach has done for so many of us players. Last year I was one of two seniors on the team. Accompanied by my co-captain, I was able to gain a relationship with coach that I have never had with anyone else. I will admit to our first few years being rough. However, after some patience from the both of us, our athlete-coach relationship developed into one of absolute trust, continued support, and even a friendship.
I will never forget what coach offered me. She taught me how to emphasize all my strengths. I know how to better walk confidently in my own shoes because of the assurance I had to have walking into a game or simply onto the court every practice. I know how to take criticism, even when that is the last thing I want to hear, and believe that what the other person is telling me is good for me to hear in the long run. I cherish a team and having the ability to be a leader. Coach pushed us as hard as she could and in the end what would get us through it all was our teammates. She knew this. When I was chosen along with Allisyn to be captains last year, I knew it was our responsibility to translate coach’s message of the importance of strong bonds to our younger teammates. Now, I can apply this strategy of teaching others and sharing someone’s beliefs with poise and grace.
Before I left for college about a month ago I went to a few practices to watch the girls play with each other. The team is getting stronger. The bonds are growing quickly. With friendships and mutual respect on and off the court, success is in the very near future. Everyone is laughing with each other having a good time, but when coach speaks they all know it’s time to listen. Not because they are scared of what she will do if they don’t, but because they respect what she has to say. As I watched the girls gathered around coach I had a feeling of completeness in my stomach, along with a feeling of emptiness, knowing my volleyball career had come to a close. However, I knew that no matter what I had in store for my future, whether it be playing Lacrosse at Millsaps College this upcoming spring, journeying around the world, or writing a novel, coach would support me.
Coach keeps an eye out for every one of her players, whether they are current or past. As a team, we become like family, coach belonging to the eternity of every family she creates. I want to thank coach for all she has done for every player that has walked into that gym to dedicate themselves to something she cherishes. Players, however hard you may try, you will never be able to forget what coach teaches you. It becomes engrained in your skin through the hard work you pour into this sport. What coach has left with me will stick with me forever and I remember this when I get a text every once in a while asking how my new college life is going. Well coach, it’s going great, and every once in a while I think of you and smile, muttering under my breath; “Oh Coach.”
Good Luck this year lady miners!
– Kenya Strong Johnston