From Sports Bar to Sports Illustrated
What if you had to believe it before you could see it? Well, just a few years ago, I was working at my local Applebee's Sports Bar and Grill in Starkville, Mississippi. Today, I am a Sports Illustrated Swim Search Finalist! I know! Such a pinch-me moment! But if you really want to know how I truly feel.... then just keep scrolling.
Unless you are from Mississippi or are a huge SEC sports fan, it is likely that you have never heard of Starkville. Nonetheless, I moved to the college town in just 8th grade from an even more rural area. As a student athlete who played basketball, softball, and was a cheerleader, I was excited at the thought of better opportunity by moving from my previous 1A school to a 6A school. The little fish, big pond saying would often times revisit and I would go as far as saying it discouraged me from playing basketball on a collegiate level. The pond would only to continue to get bigger and so were my injuries.
Well I didn't continue to play basketball in college. The reality soon started to kick in that my life would never be the same moving forward. How do I let something go that I've known my whole life? Instead, I decided to work at Applebee's after the manager insisted on me filling out an application. As a model today, I guess it's safe to say she scouted me as my dad and I were regulars. (He still is LOL) So I did. I filled out the application and was hired on the spot. Ever since my first day working there, I learned so much. These were my new teammates. I wore a different "jersey" (one that smelled like bar food) but....hey. It was a reminder that life's transitional moments are so integral for where you are going next.
I bet you're thinking.... what does this have to do with Sports Illustrated? If you asked me just 5 years ago about my future and sports, I wouldn't have thought I would be here today typing this. And I am so thankful that it worked out the way it did. It is better than I could have ever imagined. My point is whether a manager at your local restaurant sees something in you, or a magazine editor sees something in you.... there is something there for the world to also see. Not just to see, but to also experience in whatever way you see fit. I hope that this inspires you to rethink about where you are currently. It may not be how you envisioned it to be. It always gets better. At least for me it does. Continuosly evolving. I will look back at this and one day continue to write about what's next for me, my career, and my family. Either way, I am forever grateful. (Ps: SI Swim is cutting to a final 6 on Friday! Keep me in you prayers :)