As young kids, we all have the “rock star” aspirations and dreams of making it in something we love. When we are young kids these aspirations are lofty and anything is possible, but ultimately we all want to be happy, feel loved and prove ourselves to be successful. We are dedicated to do whatever it takes to make that happen. For most of us, these dreams are planted in our youth, whether it was going on to college, playing professionally, hitting the winning run in a baseball game, performing in a teenage rock band, or being the star in a dance recital or a school play. This is what we all strive for, our moment of self- satisfaction of achievement! The student athletes that volunteer on the BAWSI playground are a culmination of years of hard work, training, perseverance, sacrifice and life lessons, by taking all that they have worked hard for and applying it to something much bigger and better than that shining moment of making the game winning shot or scoring the final goal, they are actualizing who they are truly meant to be. They may not even be able to articulate this process and growth, but it is a honor to watch this process as it unfolds and to see them starting to recognize this in themselves, that is the best part of my job. It is such an accomplishment to play a collegiate sport but there is no better accomplishment than taking what you have been given to make a difference in the lives of these kids who don’t know what possibilities they even possess.
Student athletes perform in extremely high pressure situations I am amazed how composed they seem. As spectators we only see them at their best but the road to that level of competition is long and very challenging. Athletes create a high level of dedication beginning at a young age; the dedication is seen by the huge amount of time and energy given to their sport. That commitment expands as athletes grow and understand what it takes to be great at their sport. The expectations grow to an all-time high once they reach the collegiate level. Athletes are dedicated to their teammates, coaches, representing the University, classes, personal development and time commitment. I experienced a notably high level of dedication when a group of Santa Clara Women’s soccer athletes stepped foot on my site last week. Through building an authentic relationship with these athletes, I have noticed a heightened degree of dedication and trust to our relationships, to those they serve and moreover to the BAWSI organization. I could see the stress on their faces, running on the field, showing up five minutes late because they rushed from practice to get to the playground, knowing they have to head straight to a final after BAWSI ends. As soon as they stepped on the playground and I was able to thank them for coming, have them take a deep breath, you could see them set all things aside and shift their dedication to making a difference in the young girls’ lives. The young girls were so excited to see their coaches and greeted them with hugs. I feel so fortunate to witness these remarkable student-athletes step outside of themselves and make these BAWSI girls the priority.
I do not think they realize that just how much it meant for the SCU soccer athletes to give so genuinely even after a jam-packed day. To them, the day felt normal and the service is what they do, but they do not see that they do not have to do what they do. They choose it. They are Rock Stars. They are Super Stars. They deserve so much more than just their “15 minutes of fame.” I am here hoping to relay these messages to them every day so they can see just how special each and every one of them is to the community.