Once in a while, you come across an individual that not only appears to “get it”, but also seems to “know it”.
They “get” that hard work, a positive attitude and perseverance can earn one respect, lead to achievement and produce success. They have set within themselves, an image of what they intend to “become”.
And as they work their way towards it, they always seem to “know” in their heart and mind where they are going.
They are able to “see” what someday, they will become.
Jessie is one of those individuals.
She has this quiet determination and a calm, inner strength about her. On the surface, that might appear to be just “going with the flow”; allowing herself to be pulled along, afloat in one of life’s many tributaries.
But on the contrary. She is driven. Pulling others along with her. In her own way, Jessie always sets the tone.
Jessie’s thoughts, words and actions seek to create a positive and lasting momentum in her life and in the lives of those around her. She intentionally orients herself towards reaching a destination, that in certain respects, she has already “seen”.
Never just moving towards some random outcome that she “thinks” can happen. But rather, always pursuing a higher level of achievement because she “knows” she can accomplish it.
For as long as I have known her, Jessie has put herself in some rather formidable and challenging situations. Probably because that is how and where she “sees” herself.
Not many young ladies willingly choose to venture out into the world of youth football.
Despite the more progressive nature of the times we live in, this remains largely uncharted territory for girls. One would think that conventional wisdom, added to an overwhelming mass of “doubters”, plus, the challenges inherent in this particular undertaking might be enough to dissuade Jessie – and her sister Katelyn – from ever wanting to try.
Enduring the aches, pains and punishment that only football can deliver, and being treated just like “one of the guys”, both mustered the courage and perseverance to do more than just stick it out. Over time, their efforts earned them the respect of their teammates, hundreds of players and coaches in our program and opponents through out the league. Jessie helped anchor the line as an offensive tackle and defensive end.
Playing those positions – without ever backing down – at a hundred-fifteen-some pounds.
You would think that breaking through this barrier was test enough.
Again, not so.
While few young ladies don shoulder pads and helmets, fewer still heed the call of half-nelsons, arm drags, cross-faces and cauliflower ears.
Seeking another in a series of formidable challenges, once again in hot pursuit of what she “sees” for her self, and “knows” she can do, Jessie made the segue from the football field to the wrestling mat.
I can personally attest, that it is a well-known fact that football teaches you to get back up once someone or something knocks you down.
But wrestling’s lessons tend to be a little more, shall we say, personal. One on one instruction. Wrestling will actually teach you say – or utter – “uncle”, whether you want to, or not.
Up to this point in her young wrestling career, she has had a real education. Adversity in all the prevailing formats – physical, mental as well as emotional – have been prevalent and abundant throughout.
But just as she did on the football field, Jess has kept at it. Working hard. Improving every day. Getting beat up and bloodied. Just like “one of the guys”.
She “gets” that effort and doing whatever it takes, will earn her the respect of her teammates, her coaches and opponents. In time, as her abilities begin to catch up to her aspirations, what she has already envisioned – or “seen” for herself – will begin to match her reality.
But then again, Jessie already “knows” that.
She also knows that in the not too distant future, she will have the opportunity to teach some opponent how to say “aunt”.
Whatever she chooses to do going forward, I have no doubt that Jessie will continue to push herself. Perhaps she will even pick up the sketch pad again. She can also draw; “lights out”.
No matter. She just, simply, “knows” she can do it.
And does it.
Without a doubt.