A few weeks ago I ask the members of the United States National Team about a moment of inspiration, some memory of a time that changed everything that happened after it. Courtney Thompson replied with her story of post competition London, in the athlete dorms the day after the disappointing defeat at the hands of the Brazilians. She spoke of a resolve that came out in a meeting with some of her teammates. (Court's story is at http://www.jamthegym.com/jamming-in-five-questions/iinspiration-courtney-thompson ) Christa Harmotto-Deitzen emailed me her memories of that meeting last week...
“Great post and great story. Man I can remember that room like it was yesterday. I can remember where each of us were sitting, and all having that same PIT in our stomach that warped into a motivational drive for our team to pursue gold a way that's never been done before, just like Court said. We didn't have the answers then and still don't have them all now, but we knew that HOW we as a team went about our pursuit was going to be different and we would all strive to build on that foundation.”
Tama Miyashiro has a similar story about a time where growth and gain came from loss and setback. Here is Tama...
"One of my most inspirational moments came after a defeat. I was on my first trip with Team USA and we took a team to get experience and play a professional club team in China. Our team had a nice mix of young national team members and older players. The Evergrande Chinese Club Team that we were competing against had two Americans Nicole Davis and Christa Harmotto Dietzen along with some other talented Chinese players and was coached by Jenny Lang Ping. There was a great atmosphere in the arena for the exhibition match and it was full of Chinese fans. We had moments of good volleyball during the match but ended up losing fairly quickly to Evergrande. The game moved fast and I remember it being over and feeling like we were never in control. Losing is one thing but feeling like it flashed right in front of your eyes is another. There were so many lessons for me to learn I didn't know where to begin. I felt extremely defeated. Reaching this part of a volleyball career, representing your country is amazing but when you put everything out there and fall short that is one of the most difficult spaces to be in. In a meeting with coaches after the match we discussed the role of a libero, critiqued the match looking at it as a chance to get better\learn not a wasted opportunity. My coaches challenged me to get better at my job, to figure out ways to use every opportunity to improve, to come out of my comfort zone and see how far I can go. One question they asked me that I loved was, "Why not you?" They put the responsibility on me, on my decisions, on my committment, on my ability to learn and adapt to a higher level game than I was used to. I am a firm believer that your response when things don't go the way you want is something you can control and is big part of a person. It would have been really easy to just give up or make excuses but I had to put aside personal pride and feelings of defeat or embarassment and figure out what my next step was. I told myself learn the lessons, study it, work at it, move on. Even after a bad loss you decide what your response is going to be. You make the decision to show up and give it your all or you can let defeat rule your emotions and energy. The small victories and struggles that you overcome is what its all about. The process you go thru is special because it is all yours, no one else has the same path so keep it close because thats what makes it meaningful."
I think that the young players who read this blog should remember these important lessons. The most growth comes out of failure, defeat, and mistakes. Even those at the very top of the game have had these experiences.
Our mission then is to squeeze the failure and milk the lessons from it, refocus your resolve and get back to work. The very best in the world have done it. So can you!
Thanks again to Christa and Tama for their amazing contributions to this blog!!!