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Being part of a sports team means family

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By Valaree Manzanares
Special to RDR Sports

Valaree Manzanares of Goddard talks about her senior year and what it means to her and her teammates. (Submitted Photo)

My name is Valaree Manzanares.

I am a senior at Goddard High and I play volleyball and softball.

What do sports and being part of a team mean to me? Well, that’s an easy question — being part of a team means family. This means I have 11 sisters who have my back and are there to always support me. It’s more than just a “sisterhood” — no, it’s way more than that. It’s lifelong friendships that I and many of the other athletes will always have.

All the memories we have made and the great people along the way; I will always hold them close to my heart. Not being able to play is like taking food or our resources away. How would we as athletes survive?

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So many athletes and I rely on sports. It’s a motivation to get the job done in school, make good grades and work hard. For some of us, it’s a getaway from the real world — the biggest stress reliever. Some athletes rely on sports to help pay for college. If we don’t get to play, how will athletes get noticed?

Valaree Manzanares (Submitted Photo)

If we don’t get the opportunity to play this year, we will miss out on things like Senior Night, something I have personally dreamed about since I was little. Announcing my future plans, walking across the field and court with my parents by my side, and being proud of what’s to come.

Being a student-athlete is the biggest label. We are the role models of the school. We have to prove every day that we can handle both roles.

Being a leader in the classroom, showing up on time, and being the best example to your school and community is all part of being a student-athlete. It gives kids a safe place, a sense of knowing you’re never alone and you will always have your teammates and coaches there for you.

One day, this life we live as a student-athlete will be a reality. All the bus rides, practices, games and the blood, sweat and tears we put in will be gone. The one thing we will have is memories, and that will last forever. #CLASSOF2021STRONG

I would also like to thank my parents for all the support and always believing in me. And to my past and present coaches, thank you from the bottom of my heart.