How It Feels To Stand At The Bottom Of The Podium

How It Feels To Stand At The Bottom Of The Podium

Turning humiliation into determination

The buzzer sounded, the referee blew his whistle, and the match ended. In that instant, a tsunami of emotions began to wash over and the realization that the long season was over started to set in. After shaking hands with my opponent and his coaches, I slowly walked back to my coaches with my head hanging in disappointment. Everything I had worked so hard for felt like it had slipped out of my grip.

With shaking hands and trembling legs fraught with exhaustion, I made my way to the back corner of the arena, laid down on my back, and began to cry. The feeling was overwhelming and debilitating. As I laid there, I reflected on the immense feeling of failure that persisted within me. How could I have let this happen? Everything I had sacrificed and striven to accomplish that season, gone to waste in a matter of minutes. Yes, I had managed to earn a medal, but there was little consolation in knowing it was as good as the last place. I didn't feel deserving; instead, I felt lucky, and that made the defeat even worse.

Later that night during the medal ceremony, my name was called first and for a moment, I felt a twinge of pride. However, once everyone else was standing on the podium, I realized that I was the only one who had to stand on the floor. That small feeling of pride was instantly replaced with embarrassment and shame.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the other medal-winners smiling and reveling in their achievement. My dulling sadness was again replaced by something new: a newfound sense of determination. I remember looking up to the ceiling and swearing to myself that next season would be different. Next season, I would stand on that podium no matter what.

Every wrestler dreams of winning a state championship, but few ever see that dream realized. I was one of those dreamers; training and grinding every single day in hopes of seeing it come to fruition. In the end, although I did not achieve that dream, I did achieve something perhaps even more important.

My junior year, I placed sixth in the wrestling state championships and had to stand on the floor next to the podium. My following senior season, I held true to my promise and placed fifth. While a one place increase doesn't seem like much, it made all the difference in the world.

Sometimes, we cannot accomplish the large goal we so hoped to, but we can take what we come away with and turn it into something more meaningful. Everyone wants to succeed, and if a person finds a way to achieve a little more each day, than every measure of success can be found. Determination is simply the difference between standing on the floor and standing on the podium.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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7 Things That Annoy Volleyball Players More Than Anything

How to get under a volleyball player's skin in two seconds.

I'm not sure why but volleyball players are a very particular group of people — we like what we like and we HATE what we don't, especially when it is volleyball-related. If you're a volleyball player, I'm sure you can relate to this list and if you're not a volleyball player, now you know exactly how you will be able to get under our skin.

1. Girls who wear spandex in public

Don’t get me wrong, we wear spandex for a living. We understand WHY people wear them to workout. But wearing them to the dining hall, class or anywhere that isn’t the gym… please don’t. Put on some shorts or leggings — PLEASE.

2. The “I’ll beat you in volleyball” line

For some odd reason when someone who likes you finds out that you play volleyball, they say this. I’m not sure why, but its really annoying that people think they’re better than you (a collegiate athlete) at the sport you’ve been playing your whole life.

3. When guys mention that they only come to your games because you wear spandex

You’re right, why would any appreciate our athletic ability when you can simply appreciate our butts.

4. Freshman who don’t think they have to do their Freshman duties

PSA: Every single school has freshman duties; YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY FRESHMAN WHO HAVE TO DO THEM. Everyone has done them when they were a freshman. Stop complaining, do your duties, and play volleyball because after your freshman season you’ll never have to do it again.

5. When people try to tell you that volleyball isn’t hard

Why don’t you jump for three hours straight and throw your body on the ground hundreds of times and tell me how easy it is.

6. The word "spike"

I honestly feel bad about hating this so much but nothing nothing NOTHING annoys us more than when someone uses the work "spike". For some reason this word went out of style a longgggg time ago and nobody got the memo except the people in the volleyball world. Instead of telling your friend that they had a good spike, tell them that they had a great "hit." HIT = SPIKE.

7. Balls that aren't perfectly blown up

Volleyball players are hands down the most high maintenance group of people when it comes to our sport. I will go through an entire ball cart to find the best ball possible... if the ball is flat, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad. If the ball is too hard, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad.

Cover Image Credit: Sam

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watching myself give a speech Made Me Realize that I Need To Practice public speaking

I rewatched myself give a speech from first semester and here's how I felt about it


Last semester I took a voice and diction class because I felt that I needed to work on my public speaking, one of our tasks was to rewatch our first speech and critique it here's how that went.

The overall impression I wanted to make when making my speech was something that was memorable but also inspiring. When going back to listen to my speech I don't think my speech was as memorable as I hoped it would be. The reason for that is because what I wrote was interesting but the way I delivered my speech wasn't.

My nonverbal communication was okay it could have definitely been better. When giving my speech I was standing still and made sure to not lean on only one leg, but I still barely used hand gestures and kept my arms to my side. My stage presence wasn't demanding I was very timid when standing and reading my speech, felt like I was just there on the stage there was no energy pulling people to want to engage in the speech. So when I actually read my actual speech to the class I attempted to be more present and confident but it didn't work because I have really bad stage fright.

If I'm being honest with myself I thought my voice was really dry even though I was trying different ranges to keep the "audience" intrigued. My volume started loud and energetic but as kept reading my speech I ended up with a really low volume that was definitely hard to hear when playing the video back. Watching the video I could hear the energy leaving my voice the farther I read as if I losing interest in my own speech. I used pauses but the pitch was basically the same throughout.

When presenting in class I took the speech a lot more serious but it was difficult to use any of the techniques because of my stage fright. Also when reading my speech in class I looked at my paper a lot more than when I was practicing in my room I guess to avoid eye contact. One insight I have is to be super confident when practicing because you want to keep that kind of energy when it's actually time to present. That advice worked okay because I amped myself and ended up not being as nervous.

My next presentation I'm going to practice a lot more so I'm not tempted to look at my paper and keep eye contact with the audience throughout the entire speech. Also, I need to learn how to pace myself so I'm not stuttering and rushing through what I'm reading. Because of this presentation, I learned that I have really bad stage fright and that even if the paper is right in front me I still have trouble getting the point across and I start stuttering.

Rewatching the speech taught me that I have interesting topics to talk about but the way I deliver them needs to be polished. I have to keep working on my public speaking skills until I'm more comfortable speaking and taking my time.

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