We often forget to say thank you to the people that have helped us out along our paths in life. I have had so many people who have helped me get where I am today over the past four years at RIT, during my time at Cortland High and well-before that. From my family to my coaches, from my teachers to my professors, from my bosses to my co-workers, from peers and friends to those who I have coached. There are so many people who have made and impact on my life. I wouldn’t be standing here with out them and it would not be right if I let my thanks go unknown.
The first person I need to thank is my mom. She not only my mom but has been my biggest supporter, my cheerleader, my guidance counselor, my voice of reason. She has been there for me through good times and bad, surgeries and hospital visits. She is the woman I most admire and the one I aspire to be. She is stronger than anyone I know and I owe the majority of who I am to her.
My mom was my shoulder to cry on in high school, was my cheerleader at all my games throughout my playing career. She played the role of driver for all the late night practices, driving all day to get to us to AAU games. The number of times I turned to my mom for advice is countless.
My biggest fear in college was letting her down and came very close when I had to confess to her that I had drank my freshman year. At the time, I thought this was would be the hardest conversation that I would ever have, turns out it wasn’t but when you are young letting the people down you respect the most is your scary. Freshman year was a rough transition for both of us (I think) but when we made it through it, we were only stronger in our relationship.
The next person I have to thank is my sister. She may not realize it but she is one of the closest people to me, she knows me better than most and is not afraid to call me out for anything. She may make mistakes but she is not afraid to make those mistakes. I was the person who felt that I had to be perfect and maybe because I felt like that, she felt she didn’t which I am glad for her.
People say we look almost like twins and she looks older which I know drives her crazy since she is three years younger. We know we don’t but our personalities make us different. Devon has always been the one who can make me laugh. We can talk in code that no one else understands and then laugh non-stop for an hour. Friends will always come and go but she will be always be my seester and always be a part of my life.
The next person I have to thank is the love of my life, Brian. He always knows how to keep me grounded. This year tested us with distance and not seeing each other everyday. It may have been hard but it has only made us stronger. He is my best friend, the one I love to enjoy new things with. When I was over stressed, had a bad game or was just in a bad mood he knew just how to get me out of it. We are now finally in the home stretch of our time apart. I am so excited to move to Buffalo and begin our lives together in the real world. I am excited to make our house our own starting July 11th.
I love my dad and have learned a lot from him. No one is perfect and as I have grown up and experienced more things I understand that more than I did as a younger child. I have a lot to be thankful for in my life and my dad is one of those things. I would not be me without my dad and am thankful for all he taught me.
I have the most supportive family anyone could ask for on both sides. I am one of the luckiest people to have both sets of grandparents to support me and guide me. I am forever grateful and thankful for having them in my life. My whole family has always supported me through all of my dreams from coming to my games, to cheering me on at home while watching games on the live stream to supporting me in everything I dreamed of doing. My family has watched me grow up and watched me become the person I am today but without them, I would never have become the woman I am today.
Growing up, the ups and downs that my family went through have become the norm for childhoods around the United States. I had an amazing childhood despite everything and I had so many people that helped me along the way. It can take its toll on a kid but it can also make them stronger. I had so many strong people around me growing up that I owe a lot to so many different people! A person can not be shaped by one person, they are shaped by many people involved in many different aspects of their life and I have to thank all of those people (I apologize for those who I forget)!
I have had so many coaches and trainers in my life and they have made such an impact on me as a person and me as a player. I would not have been the player I am without all of them. From winning Sectionals as a Senior in High School to my AAU days. From Coach Harris to Coach Reed to Coach Finucane to Coach P to Coach Williams (2x) and all my coaches in between and from the younger years. Some of you taught me what not to do. Some of you encouraged me to stay in the post and not move out to the three point line but what I found from being told what not to do was my own game and what I liked to do. Shooting threes became one of my favorite things to do and you could not believe that you ever told me to stay inside. One coach taught me how not to treat my players before, during and after my playing career.
People value how you treat your players and I have had coaches who have lost the respect of their players, never earned it or earned and valued the player-coach relationship. I am so thankful to my coaches who have taught me so much about what I want to do in my life, how to act, how to time manage, how to prioritize. I know somewhere down the line I will want to get into coaching I am thankful to have positive and negative experiences with coaches because I know how I want to treat my players and coach and how I definitely do not want to!!
I have had the opportunity to play on some amazing teams, work along side some amazing players and call some amazing girls my teammates. From my AAU teammates to my high school teammates to my college teammates I have played on so many different teams and with so many girls it would be impossible to mention every single person. But there are a few specific people I have to thank.
My senior class. Mallory, Jess and Kayla will forever be my best friends. We have been through more than most teammates (in my opinion). We have had experiences that no one else will ever have, we stuck together through the good times and bad and had one hell of a ride on and off the court. These girls are three of the most amazing people and together we make each other better people. We could not have made it through the four years without each other.
My 2013-14 RIT Women’s Basketball team will be one of my favorite teams I ever played with. I have a lot to be thankful for in my life and each one of those girls has a special place in my heart. They made my last competitive season so special and I thank them for that. Never have I been a part of women’s team that has had no drama within the team until this season. I never wanted this season to end because of that. It is a rare occurance that you can find that within women’s sports and we did. Sarah, Maria, Ash, Syd, Julia, Allie, Christina, and Bre….thank you for making this year so special. I hope that over the rest of your time with the RIT Women’s Basketball program each season is just as special. Remember that teammates are what make the experience, when you stick together you will never regret a moment of it. Remember that coach didn’t make you love the game, you found your passion before you ever set foot on the RIT campus but your passion continues because you are playing with girls you love! There is so much to be said about playing all four years of your NCAA eligibility. Standing there on senior night with Mal, Jess and Kayla, I hope that every one of those girls gets to experience that because that was what we worked for and showed our accomplishments and is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. I wish RIT the best of luck in the upcoming season.
There are two other players I need to thank one is from high school and one is from college. Shannon Finucane is the only player I have ever fully trusted. If she said something I never questioned it, I just did it. I played a season of AAU and two seasons of high school with her. When I was just a freshman and she was a junior captain of the high school team she made a lasting impression the first time she spoke to me. I walked into a preseason open gym wearing soccer shorts and she said to me, “Go buy longer shorts and come back next week wearing them. I never want to see short-shorts in the gym again.” As a young impressionable freshman in high school I did what the best player in the gym said. As I got to know her and play with her, I came to respect her even more. She went on to win a National Championship and made four consecutive final fours at Amherst College as the starting point guard during her college years.
The second player is one of my three year teammates at RIT, Leslie. It was no secret that Leslie and I were competitors. Leslie is one of the hardest workers I have ever played with and probably the best defender that I have ever called a teammate. Les could pick your pocket and be off down the court before you realized the ball was gone. My favorite memory with Les happened in our RPI game. We needed a last second shot. Les passed me the ball from the wing, I gave her the sign to come in for a hand off and I would screen off my girl and hers and she would take the lay-up. The play worked, as it worked day-in and day-out in practice. Regardless of how we competed or how Les and my friendship looked to anyone else, we knew when it came down to it, we were on the same side in the end. Our opponent was our competition, not each other. When it came down to the game we were playing against the other team and ready to win and would do whatever it took, even when it came down to doing what we felt was best not what the play demanded, which happened a lot more than one would expect. Competition made us stronger, knowing each other were the best at our positions, realizing we weren’t competing against each other but only working to make the other better, helping each other reach our goals was something most would never understand based on how Les and I appeared to the typical on-looker but we knew better. From making plays on the court, to finding out that jello-bowls are so much better than jello-shots, to taking crazy amounts of pictures that we have to make sepia or blank & white because we both have way to pink of cheeks, to playing bop-it like we were nine years old, our friendship may seem strange to some but we know better.
So to Shannon and Leslie, thank you both for making me a better player!
Being a student was something I valued and prided myself on and challenged myself to always do my best. I had so many mentors that helped me along the way, especially at RIT. Vic Perotti, Peggy Tirrell, Tom Traub, Bob Boehner, Mike Johansson and Sally Haigh are some of the people that I have been grateful to get to know over the last few years at RIT. They have pushed me and have worked to get my best every time! Thank you so much to all of you!
To anyone who I did not have the chance to thank in this post, thank you. You know who you are and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Life is going to be changing fast over the next few years.