News Archives

Just Be Happy

February 14, 2017

During assembly on Tuesday, February 14, Vanessa Polk '22 shared a piece she wrote for her speech class. Her comments follow:

A couple days ago, Mr. Battles asked my speech class to write about our favorite thing. I came home with a lot of different thoughts in my head about what to write, and eventually, when I was done procrastinating, I just started writing. I realized what I had written was a concept many people don’t sit down and think about from day to day. And that’s why I’m here.

As some of you know, I compete nationally in both volleyball and basketball. Basketball is my first love. I’ve played it for as long as I can remember. All I can remember from when I was little was spending hours in the gym. Volleyball, on the other hand, is relatively new to me. I started on a school team and eventually migrated to “Momentum” a club travel team. I started volleyball about three years ago. My sister had played previous to me so I knew the concept, the rules and how to play, but I had never really competed. The first thing people tend to ask when they hear you play two sports is. “which one do you like better." Well, I never really think about it that much. In fact, I usually just say the first one that comes to my mind. At the end of the day, I know that I’m eventually going to have to choose between them; they’re same-season sports so I can’t continue to play both forever. I know a lot of people are hoping I choose volleyball, and a lot of people are also hoping I choose basketball. But today I decided it might be fun to try to figure out ... right here in front of you ... which one is better.

Basketball. I never get tired of it; there are so many options and ways the game can play out. Volleyball is the same in that way: there are tons of options, ways to score, and trick plays. Basketball is mentally, emotionally and physically challenging, which is part of what I love about it. Then again, so is volleyball. There’s always something more you can do. Basketball is easier to make a living off of; there are a lot of WNBA teams I could get drafted to, but then again, the chances of making a living off of volleyball are so slim, it makes me kinda want to do it. I’ve been struggling with this question for a long time. Which do I like better? Which one could take me farther in life?

One time, my coach asked us if we liked basketball. Of course, we all said "yes." It was an obvious question. He then shook his head and told us we were wrong. He told us that we should love it, that we should never want to give it up, we should spend everyday thinking about what we wanted to be and how we could get there. I can stand here today and tell you honestly that I don’t do that. For basketball or volleyball, I don’t think about what I want to be or how to get there. I'd rather spend my time thinking about where I am now, and how I can improve day to day.

By now I guess many of you are wondering what I'm choosing. And I can tell you that I have absolutely no clue. You know how when we were little our parents would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some of us said doctor; others said fireman; in my case, a princess. Then when we were a little bit older our parents got more practical answers ... things that were maybe a little easier to achieve. I don’t think back then that I had an answer for my parents, but I did know that I was willing to work hard for whatever I wanted to be. Now that I'm 13, I realize there’s so much I don’t know. So my question is: do any of us really know what we’re gonna be? Cause whether I want to be a professional sports player, a pediatric surgeon, a defense lawyer, or a princess, the truth is what I want is different from reality.

Raise your hand if you’ve thought about the job you’ll have when you get older. In reality, only 6% of you will have the jobs you think you want now. That’s only 36 people in this auditorium, give or take a little.

So, ME, I'm not making hard and fast decisions. I'm staying in the moment. I'm staying a basketball AND volleyball player. Cause that’s what makes me happy. And being happy ... that’s my favorite thing.