Friday, April 23, 2010
As many of you know I used to play volleyball! I started in the 8th grade after my best friend Naabia urged me to take volleyball as my PE class. My older sister(Fortune) also played and I can clearly remember running to the high school gym every day after school to peep into her practices. It was probably really annoying to have her younger sister snooping around, but from the day I was born I have looked up to her and tried to do everything she did. Fortune ended up going to Stanford University where she ran track for 3 years and graduated with honors in Human Biology…she went to University of San Francisco Medical School following. From watching my sister on those fall afternoons, I knew volleyball was the sport for me(even though I also played basketball and ran track). By the end of high school, I ended up achieving 12 varsity letters in all three of the sports I participated in (meaning I played varsity in volleyball, basketball and track starting from my freshman year to senior year).
My father strongly encouraged me to run track and do high jump. At the age of 28, while already practicing medicine as a full time doctor, a friend of my fathers told him to enter a meet…he did and by the end of his track career he had run in the World Championships and was Olympic Games bound. He unfortunately tore his hamstring and couldn’t go, but keep in mind his age!can you imagine if he had competed when he was younger…or maybe it’s in the Meriwether genes to reach your prime at 28 which would definitely put my mind at ease for reaching the ancient age of 25 this May! I digress...sorry..my father ended up breaking (and still holding) the world record for the 100yrds because soon after he broke it, they changed the race to the 100meters..as a result he will forever hold that record(which I think is really neat!) He also made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1971 wearing the typical uniform he became famous for wearing while running: a white undershirt, yellow (SHORT) shorts and suspenders!(back then nabbing a cover was a very rare accomplishment.)
After high school I was recruited to play volleyball at Duke University (my father’s alma mater...he was actually the first African American to go to the prestigious university). After one semester I decided to transfer to sunny southern California where I was recruited to play volleyball at UCLA. (I ended up also joining the UCLA track team as a high jumper for one season) By the end of my career at UCLA I was a 2 time All American and on my way to play professionally in Puerto Rico for about 5 months in a wonderful town called Mayaguez. After my professional season, I was invited to train for the 2008 Olympics in Colorado Springs.
The 3-4years I spent on the UCLA volleyball team were the best years of my life. Playing for UCLA was not just an athletic experience; it affected who I was off the court as well, allowing me to become the confident, ambitious, intelligent woman I am today. I made such good friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life and I am so grateful to have had the experience of being a student athlete during my college years. I to this day, have a closet full of blue and gold sweats and it was not till I stopped playing that I realized I needed a new wardrobe!!! (SHHHH don’t tell anyone but, I currently attend USC (UCLA’s biggest rival) and I must say, I still bleed blue and proudly wear a blue backpack around USC’s red and gold campus) I am a true BRUIN FOR LIFE!