The AC hummed as Coach Miles slowly crafted his words. There was a mutual understanding that hung thick in the room. A mutual respect. He knew all I had been through -- it was an unspoken reality that demanded respect, for the commitment alone. He knew of my personal journey -- the suicide of my father, the horrific car accident -- he knew of my recovery, of my unflinching commitment to live life unchained by my adversities.
He knew all I had endured for 18 months, the three-a-days, the strict nutritional regimen, the weight-training program, the injuries, the rehabilitation, the countless hours on my own. He knew I had navigated the obstacles of being a woman in a man’s environment.
He knew I had handled the media carefully, that I had garnered support from thousands, as well as faced scrutiny and degradation. I knew he had faced scrutiny as well and, likely, a little distraction in the process. I knew he had a unique situation on his hands and that he had never complained, asked me to leave, or discouraged my goal. He had always encouraged me, always supported me, and always granted me the opportunity to give my dream my best shot. He had also always been honest with me. That final day, sitting in his office, was no exception.
DO NOT BOX GOD INTO THE WAYS YOU THINK YOU THINK HE CAN USE YOU. HE WORKS ACROSS A SPECTRUM, FAR BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING, TO ALIGN OUR STEPS WITH A PERFECT PURPOSE.
It was not easy news to hear, as I’m sure it was not easy news to deliver. After 18 months of effort, nobody wants to hear a “no.” But a “no” was the final verdict. As my mind swirled, I worked to process all that I was feeling. Coach Miles continued to talk, and while I was trying desperately to listen and process his words, I found myself zoomed out of my circumstance and overwhelmed by the weight of the “no.”
No. Though I could strike 53-yard field goals, there were other guys already on the roster who could do the same. No. Though I was consistent, accurate, and conditioned, there was not room or need for another specialist that particular season.
No. Though I had worked for a year and a half, extended my college education into the Graduate program, and perfectly structured my course load moving forward, I would not be competing for another fall. No. Though the nation was on edge waiting to hear the result -- though I wanted to prove all those who believed in me right, and disprove all those who had doubted and degraded me -- the story was at its end.
No. Though I believed that God had specifically called me to pursue this goal, the final verdict was NO.