During the off-season before my senior year in high school, our new varsity basketball coach found the team picture from my freshman year. We looked so young, so scrawny and un-athletic in the photo. As we all stood around, he started naming everyone and stating their role on the team as told to him by our old freshman coach.
My freshman year in high school, I started every district game for the Freshman "A" team, but when the new coach got to describing me in the picture he said "..and there's Miller.. #12, your old coach says you were the sixth man - first off the bench."
With a dozen or more guys around, I immediately corrected the new coach in front of all my classmates stating clearly that I was a starter that year. Later, after the group broke apart, I was left standing there a bit embarrassed that I had been so quick to clarify my role. In that moment, it was more about me and less about team. The distinction wasn't that important. He was showing us the photo to get a good laugh and to show us how far we'd come, not to create classes of athletes by announcing who was a star, who was a starter, and who had a role off the bench.
Another #12, Jordan McArdle wears the same ring Jill Ivy does. And every freshman on the 2015 Ladyjack Volleyball squad would do well to remember that given that McArdle is part of a key leadership team initiated by head coach Debbie Humphreys this year. McArdle is a role model. She's a role model in the pure sense of the phrase due to her leadership qualities. But, she is also a role model in the strict sense of the phrase in that she has accepted her limited playing role with grace and purpose.
If you have a Facebook account, do yourself a favor. Take one minute (literally, the video is one minute long) and watch Herm Edwards, former NFL coach and now ESPN analyst,break down what it means to accept your role. I thought Edwards was dead on and I specifically asked Jordan her thoughts on the issue in the interview you'll see.
I'm not going to be surprised if Jordan McArdle sees the court more often this year than she did last. But, in case she doesn't... don't think for a minute that she doesn't embrace her role. Don't think for a moment that she is any less of a leader than Olson or Bates. Don't minimize players like McArdle. The ring she wears should serve to remind you what she is and what she accomplished.
Team First. Wins and losses and championships are not individual things. McArdle is a champion and SFA Volleyball is darn lucky to have her.