By Elisabeth Clay
My mother always taught me not to be mediocre. She didn’t care what my siblings or I wanted to do, as long as it was done to the very best of our ability — well, other than football or cheerleading. Those were the two sports we were not allowed to do. But back to what’s important; she never pushed us towards or made us compete in any sport. A lot of people, when I was younger at least, seemed to think my mother was making me do it, or something crazy like that.
The Only Rules She Had
The only rules were give one hundred percent while in it, get your academic work done, and to complete the season or year you start. You could change at the end of a season or year (depending on the sport), but we could not quit just because it became hard, as everything eventually does, or because we lost. By never quitting mid-season this, we learned how to excel.
I Excelled Because of Her Support
I was the crazy kid who was mad when I had to miss class to go see my newborn niece or I didn’t get why we couldn’t just wait an hour or two, so I could train, and then go see her. Not much has changed since this time, I still very much am the same crazy person who loves to train and wants to be the very best.
I sometimes felt bad for my mother because she was criticized by a lot of people because of how much I trained and how I “didn’t have a life”, but what they didn’t know or understand was my mother was just supporting what I wanted. If I had told her I only wanted to train three days a week, and wanted to go do “normal” kid things (like going to the mall and such with friends), she would have also supported that. BUT, that is not what I wanted. That isn’t who I am.
Not only did my mother support (and still does) my crazy training schedule and expensive out-of-state tournament trips (which we did despite not having a lot of money), both my mother and father did what they needed to do in order to come up with the extra for me to travel and compete. I remember being so upset and sad one year because we didn’t think I was going to be able to go, and while I did end up going, we had to buy the ticket super late. I think it ended up costing around $1200 for the ticket.
Something I Never Realized
Just thinking about it now, it’s so crazy that my parents, despite not having a ton of money, were not only willing to do this, but supported me so much through all of it. I will forever be thankful for them and the fact that I always know they will support me.
I’m not saying it’s the amount of money my parents spent on me that helped make me the athlete and person I am today. It’s the fact that they were willing and wanting to do everything they could in their power to help me get better. From taking me to class five days a week to my mom staying at the gym all day, they did what was necessary to allow me to train and get my schoolwork done between classes. They helped me with the big stuff like sponsors and contracts and the business side of competing, and they helped with the simple things like going over my posts to make sure they were good enough or if I should change anything. My mother was my editor, my doctor, my friend and my mom; she was able to pull it all off.
The Most Incredible Thing She Does
What’s the biggest and most incredible thing she did and still does for all of us? Each child in the family has their own interests and forte, and she supports us all, yet she still manages to set a personal example for us by striving for excellence herself. She is an avid learner with many degrees.
These are a few of my mom’s sayings: Excel. Don’t be mediocre. Think. Don’t just believe or memorize (we don’t have to agree, but you better have a reason and rationale). You are free to choose, but I am not bailing you out. If you are not bleeding or broken, brush yourself off and continue. If you don’t like what I fixed, you can cook.
I can talk more about them if you want to know more, but they have served me well. I know how to think. I know I am responsible for what I do and how my life is impacted. I can balance a bank account and budget for trips and expenses. I can do many things. I always knew I was loved and supported, yet never controlled or told what to think! We are definitely a different family, but I am content and happy knowing that I am who I am because of many of these things. No matter where we have been, we can attain our dreams with effort and determination.
Become your lioness!
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