Athletes get life lesson |

Athletes get life lesson

Gary Kank

South Shore female athletes were treated to a meal and a valuable life lesson Wednesday.

Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe hosted a luncheon to honor the efforts of Whittell and South Tahoe high school student athletes on and off the field.

Guest speaker Angela Taylor, assistant vice president for Advancement and Alumni Relations at the University of Nevada Reno, brought one simple message: Everything you learn from sports can be applied to everyday life.

Speaking from her personal experiences as a student athlete at UNR, Taylor revealed the five most important things she’s taken from playing sports and incorporated into her life: teamwork, goal setting, tenacity, discipline and competition.

“The only way you can go all the way in life is by being a team player,” Taylor said. “Whether it’s on the playing field or with your family at home, everybody has to do their part to be successful.”

Taylor also divulged how sports taught her how to develop goals in life just as she had formulated goals and game plans on the court.

She spoke of tenacity, revealing a humorous story about being down 17 to 3 in the early innings of a softball game.

“We were being embarrassed, but we started chipping away little by little, and while we ended up losing the game 21 to 20, we never gave up,” she said. “It is that type of attitude that one must take into life.”

Taylor also touched on the benefits of discipline and the art of competition, revealing how those two concepts have helped her stay focused in her career.

“Basically, life is a competition, whether your trying to beat yourself or someone else,” she said. “Are you going to take your ball and go home or are you going to compete?”

As students finished up their meal, many commented on Taylor’s speech.

“I thought it was really inspirational,” said South Tahoe swimmer Christy Belair. “I like how she compared life to sports. I think it’s totally true what she said. I learned a lot.”

Whittell volleyball player Liz Rico was also impressed.

“It was neat to have someone talk to us that has gone through what we’re going through right now,” she said. “It gave me a lot of motivation.”

Some students even took the time to thank Taylor for her encouraging words.

“I thought her speech was really interesting and I was glad to see she was on the level with us,” said Tiffany Pinson, who plays basketball at South Tahoe. “She made a big impression and I wanted to make a point to go thank to her afterwards.”

Parents and coaches in attendance were also quick to commend Taylor’s speech.

“Having someone who has experienced these things come and talk to the girls is great,” said Whittell volleyball coach Dan McLaughlin. “We as coaches stress winning on the field and the school itself stresses academics. I’m sure (the students) get tired of hearing it from us, but for them to see someone who has come from their situation and become so successful, I’m sure they appreciate that.”

As the last of the students were filing out, on their way back to school, Taylor gave her thoughts on the importance of this event.

“I think it’s really important to encourage people of all ages to do the very best they can do,” she said. “Sports opens doors for these girls and it keeps them going on the right path.”

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