The True Life Of A college Dancer: Brittany Ferguson

The True Life Of A college Dancer: Brittany Ferguson

"... have confidence in yourself and trust in God's plan."

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Meet Brittany Ferguson.

She's a 21 year old college student at Grand Canyon University studying Business Management with a minor in Entrepreneurial studies. Brittany is getting ready to enter her senior year and her fourth year on GCU's Dance team. Brittany started dancing with GCU in 2015 and as she is getting ready to begin her final college chapter, I sat down with her to reflect on her college experience as woman of intelligence, dedication, beauty and faith.

BrittanyBrittany

What made you first interested to pursue dance in college?

Brittany: I started dancing my sophomore year of high school for my high school's dance team and that's when I first fell in love with dancing. I went to a few GCU dance clinics and couldn't really decide where I wanted to go to college. I loved the GCU dance clinics, most importantly the environment. We watched the girls dance and listened to them talk about their experience at GCU. I was really drawn to how it was a Christ-centered the team was. I said to myself, "I want to be a part of a community like this." Then, I decided to audition.

Describe to me your first audition experience. Do you have any tips for anyone who is interested in auditioning for a college dance program?

Brittany: I was in high school when I auditioned, so I was very intimidated. This was my first time really seeing the college team experience and it was different from what I was used to. The girls who have been on the team for awhile were so nice and welcoming. They took the time to help us compared to try to compete with us.

For anyone auditioning, I would have to say be confident in yourself and trust in God's plan. Know that if He feels you should be on the team then He will allow that opportunity for you. Most importantly make sure your heart is fully in it because joining a college dance team is a big commitment. Once your heart is in it, show up and show them who you are. Don't worry about trying to be anyone else in the room, being true to yourself is more than enough.

What is your favorite experience you have had being apart of GCU dance program?

Brittany: The camaraderie. And Midnight Madness!

BrittanyBrittany

Haha! I love Midnight Madness!

Brittany: I'm lucky to attend a school that puts on really cool events that dance gets to be a part of. Of course, basketball season is also really special.

The Havoc section must be so fun to perform for! I feel like the whole Havoc section is another player on the team.

Brittany: Oh, for sure! Being in front of the Havocs is so awesome and it makes it so much more fun. I feel like we all contribute to the team and get them hyped up.

Is there anyone on the team who has changed your life?

Brittany: Madi Reimers, one of my fellow dancers, has been my partner in this whole experience. We have always had each other and encountered every situation side by side. We are both dancers, plus full-time college students, plus student workers so having someone who I can relate with has been so imperative to me. We constantly push one another not only in dance but our faith, academics and life goals as well. We have so many memories I will forever cherish and I could not feel any more blessed to have someone like her in my life.

Brittany and MaddiBrittany

Do you have a favorite Bible verse that helps you through difficult times that college can bring?

Brittany: I have so many verses. I love. Some of my favorite verses are Proverbs 4:23, Peter 5:7 and Romans 8:28.

I LOVE Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Brittany: Me too! These are the verses that have caught my eye and made me think about everything I do. It's so important to know that what no matter what you're going through, you have to put trust in God's plan. You have to stay as positive as possible because there is no reason not to be.

How has your faith shaped your experience as an athlete?

Brittany: People know me as "Brittany the dancer". They look at me and say if she acts a specific way then all dancers must act in that specific way. Faith has reminded me to be loyal to myself and my teammates. Being a dancer I am constantly representing my whole team. My team prays at the end of every practice and we ask for prayer requests to make sure we are all there for each other. We just want to lift each other up and help each other and that results in our best performance as dancers.

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Compare your emotions and thoughts going into your first year on GCU dance compared to going into your senior year.

Brittany: I didn't know what to expect my first year. I was so intimidated my freshman year, for the college experience and the dance experience as a whole. My senior year I'm more secure in my place with GCU and GCU dance. It's so bittersweet knowing this is my last year and that the best experience of my life is coming to an end. I have put in so much hard work and time into this team and dance has been a huge part of me. I'm also looking forward to seeing what life brings after this.

Change is always scary but it can be a good thing.

Brittany: Exactly!

If you could give advice to yourself before you started the GCU dance program, what would you say?

Brittany: I would say no matter what, always be on time since being late is never acceptable in our team. Don't stress yourself out even though it's a big workload. As hard as it is sometimes, in a blink of an eye it's gone. Everyone says college goes by quickly and they're right. Live in the moment.

Brittany Brittany

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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4 Things I Learned Growing Up Playing Sports With Boys

Playing two different sports throughout my life with mostly guys has been both scary and rewarding.

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Recently, I joined a taekwondo class at the local YMCA. It wasn't quite as daunting as some may think. My taekwondo career began about seven years ago, and this school is associated with my school back home. It was familiar to me, almost like I was still taking classes back home. The most familiar thing is that I'm still one of the only females in the class. While I was never the only female in taekwondo class back home, no other girls or women stuck around in class during the seven years.

Taekwondo isn't the first male-dominated sport that I've participated in. Being an athlete has been part of my identity since the age of 6. My love for sports started when my dad introduced me to the Seattle Mariners. I played Little League baseball for five years and I was the only girl for four of those years. While I was never in the top of the batting lineup or played the coolest positions, I still had a successful baseball career.

Comparing these two sports has never been something that I've thought deeply about until I joined the new taekwondo class. It makes sense to do so since they've both played significant roles in my life.

Here are four things that I've experienced while participating in male-dominated sports.

1. I've been told to do "girl pushups" too many times.

I experienced this mostly while playing baseball. No one ever tried to stop me from playing baseball, but there were times where I was singled out and told to "adjust" the workout because they attributed my struggle to the fact that I'm a girl.

2. People have been surprised at my capabilities.

There have been multiple instances where I made a play or scored a point while sparing a guy. How I made the play or scored always seemed routine to me, but I've had people come up to me and were stunned at what they just saw me, a girl, do. In my more recent memory, I was sparing a guy for our belt test. I scored on him with a spinning hook kick, which was routine for me. He gasped in shock. After the test, the same guy came up to me and said, "That kick was amazing!" and shook my hand. It wasn't until my instructor pointed out to me that he probably hasn't spared very many women at a brown belt level that I realized that he was genuinely shocked.

3. Personal doubt is chronic.

I'm aware that I shouldn't compare myself to others, but the fact that I'm surrounded by mostly guys is really daunting. Using gender to fuel my doubt is such a cop out, but it's a reality I'm sure that other females experience, both in sports and in the real world. Even though I've proven to myself multiple times that I have the capability to compete against guys, the stereotypes still get to me after all this time.

4. Many people want to see me succeed.

I've been blessed with having supportive coaches and instructors. They've been sympathetic to the fact that it's hard to be different and that it's not easy having to represent other females in the sport. One of the reasons why I was able to play baseball for so long and continue to push towards getting my black belt in taekwondo is the fact that my coaches and instructors were always there to help improve my technique and make me stronger.

I'm glad that I experienced and continue to experience participating in male-dominated sports. It's taught me to be strong and to not give up if my opponent has certain advantages over me. I encourage other women and girls to participate in male-dominated sports. It's not easy but rewarding when you succeed.

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