Elizabeth Angel Gardon
Sports: The Unbreakable Bond
WE RISE BY LIFTING EACH OTHER
If anyone knows anything about me they know my love for sports is extreme. I was an avid athlete and now I am a passionate coach. I could write for days about what sports mean to me, their positive influence, my incredible memories and unforgettable experiences. But I’ve decided to focus this post on where my enthusiasm comes from and why sports ignite my soul:
The Unbreakable Bond
Sports fills my heart with an energy that almost is indescribable. It floods my body with an array of emotions from the thrills of victories to the devastations of defeat. But more than anything sports create teams built on the foundation of encouragement, support, loyalty, sacrifice, dedication and commitment. Sports unites individuals and asks them to put the team before themselves for the greater good. It is through this unselfish effort and humble mentality where the unbreakable bond is formed. This bond is powerful, priceless and will last forever.
How do I know this? Because I have lived it. I know being a part of a team goes beyond the sweat, the hard work, the sacrifice and the selflessness sports require. The true bond comes off the field and outside of the trainings when we are faced with adversity and we must come together as a team to support, love and rise up as one.
I first faced this important lesson in college when a teammate of mine lost her father. In that moment my teammates instantly became my sisters. We were no longer athletes playing on a soccer on a field: we were a family supporting, consoling and mourning together. I will forever have an unbreakable bond with my Marquette sisters and the women’s soccer program will always be my family.
My daughter also experienced this difficult lesson exactly one a year ago when tragedy struck our club volleyball team. Over the course of the season my daughter and her teammates lost two classmates; completely different situations but within weeks of one another. The other mom coach and I witnessed our team mourn these two precious ten year old girls who left this earth entirely way too soon. We made blankets, wore ribbons and honored our friends by choosing to live each day with gratitude and kindness. Our team and that season will forever be in our hearts and our unbreakable bond will last a lifetime.
And sadly, just this past week I learned of another volleyball tragedy that hit super close to home. It’s a major club down in Louisville that is currently mourning the deaths of two mom coaches and their 12 year old daughters. All 4 were killed in a car accident on their way to a club tournament last weekend. My heart goes out to this club, families and friends grieving this devastating loss. The outpour of support and love is a true testament of these beautiful souls, the healing power of sports and the unbreakable bond of this community.
Lastly, it’s impossible not to mention the legacy of Kobe Bryant and the thousands of lives he touched through his exceptional example of dedication to basketball, commitment to family and unconditional love towards his teammates, fans and community. Kobe Bryant has spread the unbreakable bond of sports beyond words and comprehension.
As a coach and a mom this past week really struck me in the gut. I attempted to make sense of these tragic situations in order to cope with my emotions. However, I have no good reason or explanation as to why any of these nightmares should ever happen. But there is one thing that helps me process these events: gratitude.
These tragedies put life quickly in perspective. They are a slap-in-the-face reminder to take a step back and be thankful that I have another day to focus on what’s truly important. To me, that is treating myself and others with patience, kindness, compassion, empathy, understanding and love.
We all know that life is way too damn short. However, it’s still easy to get caught up in the busyness, chaos and insignificant distractions of this world.
Last night, we decided to have a family dinner (a very rare occurrence these days with our busy schedules). As we sat around the table, I made sure to give my kiddos a good old Coach Gardon pep talk. I let them know I am extremely grateful that I get to wake up each day and be their mom and coach. And, even though we are in the trenches of life: most days are overwhelming, exhausting and depleting...I wouldn’t change a thing.
We are surrounded with a community of support and blessed with teammates who are now our sisters, players who are now our daughters and teams who are now our family. This is one of life’s greatest blessings what we call in sports: the unbreakable bond. And for that, I am forever grateful. 💙🧡💖