"I'm doing this because I want to do it better!" -- Walt Disney
I'm a quote girl. I have collected quotes since I was about 10 years old, and I will do so for the rest of my days. I have found so much strength, inspiration, motivation and joy in the words of others. Inspiration is everywhere; just take a peek around to find some.
I chose the Walt Disney quote for this blog because it fits my life this summer. I just got back from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where I was invited by espnW, Disney and AAU volleyball to kick off the largest (Guinness Book of World Records big) volleyball tournament in the world.
Thousands upon thousands of passionate athletes and supportive parents joined Mickey and I; we officially welcomed the girls, shared a few words of inspiration and then "let the games begin!"
While I was there, I was reminded why I love my sport -- all sports really -- so very much. It's about passion, teamwork, friendship, overcoming obstacles, chasing dreams and growing as a person. I saw these things in so many of the bright-eyed participants, and it reminded me of myself at their age. It brought me back to my early days, when I was 10 years old and just learning how to play. It made me realize that 24 years later, I'm still as passionate about the game as I was back then. What a gift this sport has been -- such a blessing in my life!
Aside from the obvious connection because of my recent trip, I like Disney's quote because it answers the questions I get all the time. Why do you choose to remain in the game? Why chase another Olympic gold medal when you already have three? Why? Why? Why?
My answer is Disney's declaration: "I am doing this because I want to do it better!"
For those of you who don't know, I just had my third baby, our first baby girl, on April 6. Scout Margery joined her brothers, Joey and Sundance, and my husband, Casey and I -- the Jennings five. Let the games begin!
I am a 34-year-old mother of three amazing babes. I am married to the love of my life. I play beach volleyball for a living. Now can you see why I still feel like a 10-year-old? I'm living my dream.
I'm still in the game because I have more (and better) in me. I'm doing this because I'm still in love with my first love -- volleyball. I'm doing this because I can. And I'm doing this because, as Mr. Walt Disney once said, "it's kind of fun to do the impossible."
My next goal is to win the gold medal in Rio in 2016. Some people say it's impossible, but I'm up for the challenge. Inspired by thousands of aspiring athletes (especially those girls I just met in Orlando), driven by my eagerness to grow the game and fortified by my faith and my family, I have plenty of motivation.
The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) tour is coming up on Aug. 16 in Salt Lake City. That's where my road to Rio starts. I hope you'll all join me, in some capacity, on this journey. Chasing dreams is not just for the kiddies -- it's for all of us brave enough to keep doing it. You have it in you, too, so get goin'!