Kids Play Int’l Note: Happy National Girls & Women in Sports Day! We are featuring an article by Jaime Komer about the positive role models in sports that helped her become an Olympic Silver Medalist. Jaime is our Athlete Ambassador, Social Media Director, and Trip Leader. She’ll be leading the Yoga Volunteer Trip to Rwanda, July 18th-29th, 2013.
Playing sports can teach us all sorts of important life lessons. We learn to not work with others but to also support and motivate each other. We experience wins and losses, often learning the most from when we don’t succeed (whether we admit it or not at the time). We gain confidence, work ethic, and a healthy lifestyle.
Yet what about the individuals who inspire us? Our role models? These people, whether they know it or not, often have a lasting impact on our lives.
As I was growing up, I tried to play every sport I could get my hands on. Volleyball, basketball, swimming, softball, soccer, and even gymnastics (let’s just say after a year of trying this I knew this wasn’t for me. Go figure, being 6 feet tall now.) It wasn’t until high school that I tried out the sport I fell in love with. Water Polo. Oddly enough, during my entire youth there wasn’t a particular female athlete that I connected with as a role model. Just didn’t happen. Instead, my two brothers and my parents were (and are) my life role models and I couldn’t be more grateful for this.
The Sydney 2000 Olympics, the first time Women’s Water Polo is an Olympic Sport. It’s my sophomore year at UCLA during our pre-season training, and in walks Robin Beauregard. Was I intimidated? Heck ya, I was. This Olympic Silver Medalist is serious business. She’s not to be reckoned with in the pool, she’s had more surgeries than we have limbs, and she is ridiculously smart and clever.
A natural leader, Robin had the ability to lead with a calm confidence and a supportive demeanor. It was also her work ethic and humbleness that truly inspired me.
My teammate became a role model, leaving a positive impact on how I tackled future challenges, struggles, and situations (definitely including my seven surgeries).
These influential people in my life have helped me create my own core values. I am a better person today because of what they taught me. Funny enough, I have a sign up in my house that pretty much sums them up: “No whining. Be happy. Do your own thing. Enjoy life. Believe. Dream big.”
To these, I will gladly add: Believe in your work ethic and share your smiles.
Now it’s our own turn to inspire young athletes. To be their role models. To guide them in creating their own core values. I am thankful to say that what I do for Kids Play International is exactly that. It’s funny how things come full circle!
For more on our Athlete Ambassadors, please visit our Kids Play Int’l Athlete Ambassador Page.