May 1, 2012
Being a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota means you'll become very familiar with air travel. By now, the team has very refined in-flight beverage preferences, and they all know whose palms become most sweaty during bumpy rides. Yet, after 11 years of globe-trekking with Gopher tennis and hundreds of flights, there is one element of flying that I never find dull or without thrill...the take-off.
The powerful thrust of the engine, the building speed, the view of shrinking objects below...I simply love that experience. But my favorite element of the take-off? That's easy. It's the entrance into the clouds. Some choppiness is usually inevitable, and you can lose your sense of direction, but no matter how unsettling those few moments may be, you know that the plane will continue climbing and that calm blue (or, as I write now--starry) skies await. Tonight, as we fly the last leg of our trip home from the Big Ten tournament, I watched the wing of the airplane slice through the clouds and thought about this wonderful group of young women with me on the plane, and about their season together.
I thought about where this team has been, the occasional turbulence it has experienced, and about the rewards that still lie ahead. And I thought about the power that each of them has within. I thought about the heights they can reach when they combine their power to lift themselves and one another, despite the resistance they may feel from their bodies. Their emotions. Their perceived obstacles. No amount of turbulence can prevent them from reaching their goals. When they bond together, with a singular power and purpose, their next flight together has the potential to lead them higher than they may have truly imagined they could go. On it!
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