Three years ago, I stepped on BGSU’s campus for my official visit – not sure what I was looking for and not sure what to expect. What I found was a group of girls and coaches who really cared about Bowling Green and who really cared about each other. As I sat with them in the dining hall and observed their relationships with one another, I could tell Bowling Green was a special place.
It didn’t hit me until I visited another school and saw the contrast. At this school, the girls didn’t seem quite as excited to meet me and show me their home. They didn’t seem to love being together as much as the BG girls did. They didn’t hug me goodbye and say, “see you soon!” when I was leaving. I didn’t get a text from each of the girls telling me how much they loved meeting me. I didn’t feel like I had already built relationships in the short time I was there.
They always say during the college decision process that you will know when you find the right place. I knew BG was my right place because of the people in it. A group of girls from all over the U.S. – and the world – made a place I had never heard of two months before feel like home.
During my time with the program, I’ve had the opportunity to experience and build a championship culture. Each spring, our team has culture meetings in which we redefine our five team values. These are the principles that our program chooses to live and play by. Our values are love, unity, competitiveness, communication, excellence and hard work.
This year we defined love as “choosing to build relationships and serve others.” We defined unity “together as one.” I saw love and unity the day I visited BGSU three years ago. I’ve seen love and unity in our program every day since.
We’ve seen a lot of success the past couple of years. I believe it’s because of the value we place on being the best team that we can be, on and off the court. I’m incredibly grateful for the success we’ve had, but I’m more grateful for the relationships I’ve gotten to build with my teammates and coaches. We care about each other, we challenge each other and we have a whole lot of fun together.
A week ago, we had a BGSU Volleyball Alumni brunch where past and current players got together and talked about their experiences with the program. A group of alums from the ’08 graduating class joined us and it was amazing to see how connected they still were. They reminisced on their BG days together – remembering every detail of their favorite memories. What struck me more, though, was the experiences they’ve shared after college ended. They talked about how they’ve raised their kids together, acting as unofficial aunts. They talked about all the times they’ve gotten together and how they still text in their group chat almost every day.
The connectedness of the ’08 grads made me so excited to keep sharing my life with 18 of my best friends. The relationships I’ve built and the memories I’ve gotten to share with my team have trumped any reservation I ever had about coming to BG. I know 10 years from now we’ll all be at each other’s weddings, acting as “aunts” to each other’s kids and maybe even still sending messages in our group Snapchat.