A Jumbled Explanation

Hi ya’ll, well here is a completely vague explanation to many peoples questions. Some people are curious, some may not even care, but here is a little look into my brain and the journey I took on my decision to leave. I started writing this in January and since then I’ve been adding bits and pieces of random thoughts that have gone on in my head these past 4 months. I’ve edited out some of the more irrelevant things and I’ve fixed up the order of events a little bit for your reading pleasure. I’m sorry in advanced for the language I choose to use (I say “sucks” a lot in this for no particular reason). So here is a completely random look at my thought process:

In my 19 years on this planet, I’ve learned so much. Like a sponge I’ve seen and heard things all around me, and I’ve taught my mind how to adapt to certain things that I’ve come across in my experiences throughout life, such as when it’s cold, I put on a jacket, when I see a fire, I dare not to touch it. But I’ve also learned much more. Like the simple fact that sometimes life just sucks, and the world is unfair, you don’t get everything you ask for, and sometimes unfortunately, people are going to be mean to you. These are things that our brains, even though it may hurt, learn to adapt to, to role with, to keep reminding us, that life sometimes sucks, but it is what it is, and to keep moving forward.

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Here in my 19th year, I’ve been stuck in a mental plateau.

I was raised in a world full of yes ma’ams, no ma’ams, yes sir, no sir, please’s and thank you’s spoken with a subtle southern drawl. This is the world I left behind, never knowing how much I took for granted the waves and polite smiles complete strangers would give me as I walked down the road.

I was 15 when I planned out my life.

When I was 15, I had no clue what I was going to eat for dinner after I came home from school everyday, much less what I really wanted from life.

I sit here amazed how kids, younger than I was, can decide where they want to spend their futures, assuming it will be the best years of their lives. So much pressure is put on babies to make such a huge decision that can impact how they end up. I was no baby, but I was not even close to being old enough to know what I really wanted.

My acceptation into USC
My acceptance letter into USC (Spring of 2013)

Regardless, I don’t regret going to USC. The friends I made, and the people I’ve met, have created so many wonderful memories for me in the two years I lived in California. USC is a great school, and I’m lucky that I had the opportunity to play there.

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It’s hard for me to really explain the reason for my departure, I have been tormented with this decision for months. Should I leave? Should I go? What will happen when if leave? Will I regret it? Will I fit in wherever I go? What if I stayed? Will I be happier? Will things get better? Or will I have to conform to a numb comfort for the next two years of my life? I’m not physic, I can’t see the future. I didn’t have the answers to any of these questions. I fought myself, tortured myself, for seven months.

The fact is, I miss my home, I miss my family. I miss my little brother who is having to grow up without me around. I miss my mom who is having to support me and my brother, and having to pay for his monthly hospital bills all by herself. I tried to make this work, I fought my own mind for this to work. I sought out help to make this work. But it simply didn’t. And for that I am sorry.

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I did go to our student health center to receive weekly counseling from our expert psychologists. It is something that I wished more athletes did. Every week, I’d go in and cry and talk and listen. I felt like she understood me and she became one of my best friends. I feel so much better now than I did months ago. She helped me heal my broken mind so much, and taught me how to cope with so many things. She taught me that depression and anxiety are things that all athletes go through, however when it occurs for more than a couple months, then there is a problem.

I secretly struggled through so many things, concerning my family, their health and my health. My trainer, Abbie, was one of the people that helped me through it.
I secretly struggled through so many things, concerning my family, their health and my health. My trainer, Abbie, was one of the few people that helped me through it.

My internal battles continuously fought with my external ones. I don’t want people to get confused and think I’m leaving because of volleyball, because I’m not. There are three things that have to come before a sport for me. And that is God, my family and my health. It was a hard year. Obviously, physically and mentally this year was almost unbearable for me to handle, I couldn’t do the things I wanted, yet I felt like I had to force myself to do what was expected of me. And I learned that without volleyball, who am I? Who is Ebony Nwanebu without the name and the criticism and the expectations? It was hard for me really, I struggled so much with my identity. I’ve spent so much of my life wanting what people have wanted me to want, and doing what other people have been telling me what I should want to do… but what do I really want? What do I really want to do? Who am I? Well, I’m a teenager, from a small country town in Texas, currently I am thousands of miles from my biggest supporters and my sickly little brother. I like the color pink, I skip everywhere I go (literally), I’m still stuck my Disney phase and occasionally will burst out into song. And I’ve learned that moving far, far away, forces someone to grow up pretty quickly. So that’s what I did in my sophomore year. I grew up.

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I am now old enough to know that our brains can adapt to sucky situations, but it shouldn’t always have to day in and day out. I am old enough to know that depression isn’t a myth, it is a very real thing that many athletes go through. And chronic anxiety is crippling. Food tastes good, and crying makes you tired. I learned to make my own decisions. At the age of 19, I finally knew what I wanted out of life, and what wanted to pursue in my future. And unfortunately the things I want aren’t at USC.

Recently my grandmother passed away. I missed my last week of classes at USC and went to Iowa to be comforted in the arms of 24 of my family members. The thing about Iowa is that not much goes on there, which means it’s quiet. I can think without constantly hearing sirens, or voices. It’s just me and my mind out there. I got to thinking. The months and months of torturous conflict that I put myself through, was not my own. I was never really conflicted, somewhere deep down I knew what I wanted, and I wanted to leave, to be closer to my grieving family in the midwest, and my little brother in the south. The conflict was in fact the school (USC) itself. I didn’t want to leave behind the group of girls that I considered my sisters. I didn’t want people on the outside to assume things that weren’t true. I didn’t want the thousands of USC fans out there to be disappointed in me.

And as a human being, that is my biggest problem. I put others wants before my own needs. I don’t like confrontation, and I hate when people are upset with me. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve grown up. It’s time for me to be a big girl and step out in the world, and be happy, and be carefree, like I once was once upon a time, and grab what I want and what I need. I need to be happy. We get one life. And I want a happy one. And I hope those of you who are out there still reading this understand and can accept that.

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So here is the answer to many peoples questions. I am leaving USC with a heavy heart. I don’t know what lies ahead, as I’ve stated before, I can’t see the future. It is all in Gods hands. I’m in a bit of a rough patch right now, but He will help me get through this. I’m beyond excited to see what is in store and what life holds for me and my volleyball career down the road. I’d like to take a moment and thank my USC family and supporters, thank you so much for these past two years. Your devotion and constant support has been one of the things that kept me rooted here. To my teammates, words cannot express how much I will love and miss you with everything I have. Thank you for being my second family and my sisters, and for accepting without (to much) judgement, the thousands of unnecessarily random hugs I annoyed you all with every practice.I love you all so incredibly much and it hurts me so much to have to say goodbye to each one of you. My heart aches so much and I will cherish all of our memories together. To my coaches, thank you for teaching me everything you know and for helping me grow so much. To all the babies out there, try not to force yourself to grow up to fast. Be young and carefree while you still can. And to all the NCAA college athletes out there fighting an invisible battle, you can get through this. Trust me I know. It will get harder before it gets better, but it will get better, I promise.

-Ebony

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45 thoughts on “A Jumbled Explanation”

  1. Hi there, my name is Raegan LeGrand. I am a USC commit for the year of 2016 and wanted you to know how amazing it has been to watch you play for the past two years. I also wanted to let you know how inspiring what you are doing is to me. I am from Nebraska (which I love dearly, so I understand why you love Iowa so much!) and I have also fought with the idea of what is best for me. It is so amazing that you are following your heart and I hope you find exactly what you are looking for, and what you deserve. I would have killed to be able to play with you for a year, it has honestly been a dream of mine, but I am so happy for you. I know since I don’t know you personally that this might seem weird, but I really mean it. Your writing was beautiful and genuine. Thank you for doing what makes you happy, what more people should be doing. Have an amazing day, and life back in Iowa (:
    -Raegan LeGrand

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      1. Hi Ebony,
        Couldn’t really figure out how to get a message to you, but I will try.
        I’m Jordan Anderson’s Grandma Jenny and she has sent me all three of your posts. We have seen you play so many times and I was so looking forward to being able to see you play next year when UCLA played USC. But, I am so supportive of your decision. Your writing (wow, what a major!) expresses your courage, your connection to family, your search for self, and your commitment and love. You are one special person, and I hope our paths will cross again at some point–maybe in Texas!! We’ll all look forward to the next post, Eb.
        Much love.
        Jenny

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  2. Ebony, I’m a casual fan of college volleyball from the state of Texas and I just wanted to take the time to tell you what an incredibly honest and brave post to write. I can’t pretend to understand what you’re going through, but know that you have many people rooting for you. Good luck with your future and hope that you find the happiness and contentment you’re seeking.

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  3. Ebony ,

    You have touched many issues that young athletes face these days but sadly not many people are brave and mature like you to be honest with the true feelings. You are also so wise to go get help from your sport psychologist at USC.

    You gave your heart and soul to USC for two years and now it is time for you to move on. I wish you the best in and please share your insights with other young athletes. You will never know how many people you have helped. I am a mother of 2 and I am learning so much from you.

    Take care.

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  4. Hi: You are very brave. I think you are very smart to not let volleyball define you. You are more than volleyball, and I think a lot of others can relate to what you are going through. I am a mom, and I think your mom is probably very proud of your decision to follow your heart. Take some time to be with your family. Best of luck to you, Ebony!

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  5. I have loved watching you play and always admired you as a player. Thank you for sharing your story!! You have a true gift in writing! I wish you all the best! Praying for your brothers health! Enjoy this time with your family.

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  6. Ebony,

    Thank you for putting into words what I never could. It took so long for me to figure out that I could be a person outside of volleyball and I finally found who I wanted to be. You are an inspiration! More college athletes need to read this so they know they are not alone.

    God bless.

    Courtney

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  7. Shout out from Lovejoy… Thanks for sharing and offering this insight Ebony. It is powerful. I will definitely share with my teenage daughters. You have been an inspiration for them during their volleyball careers. We loved watching you in high school and on TV with USC. Good luck on which ever direction you take. We sincerely wish you happiness.

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  8. Ebony,

    I remember watching you grow up throughout your time at Lovejoy as an athlete. You haven’t disappointed anyone back here in Texas. You are a joy to watch and an inspiration for many people.

    You are who you are, and that is an exceptional young lady that will go far in life.

    I’m always cheering for you.

    -Angela

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  9. I am a parent of a volleyball athlete in Texas who is struggling to find her right fit. I read this and I broke down crying because I am seeing so much of what you describe in your blog in my daughter…….literally. I think parents should read this as it has opened my eyes on things I need to say and show her in my actions and affirmation of love, support and understanding. I am actually struggling with the words to even say because you really hit the message home to not just players but also parents and hopefully to coaches putting pressure on girls to “commit” early rather than taking their time to make sure its what THEY want not want everyone else does. I hope you continue to play volleyball in college and was looking to read that towards the end given your amazing talent- but regardless you are a role model and real and an example to so many. I am requiring my daughter to read this as I know it may just change her course in the decision of where she would like to play volleyball. Your a blessing!

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  10. Ebony,

    Thank you for sharing your journey, your words are very inspiring, especially to young athletes that are facing the same decisions soon. My daughter plays at Madfrog and we watched you play for TAV so she can relate to you and your path. You are a brave soul sweet girl, always follow your heart and you will never go wrong. Sometimes it takes us a while a learn to trust it, but eventually it shouts loud enough and then we listen. Good luck to you in your next greatest adventure…your family is very blessed to have you. Take care.

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  11. You are such a Beautiful & Brave young lady. I admire you for being honest & true to Yourself. I hope my daughter, if she ever have to go through what you went through, that she would be mature enough to make a decision that is best for her. Good Luck & prayers for your family!

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  12. Ebony,

    I am a collegiate volleyball player in Indiana at the division 3 level, and I can’t tell you how brave and strong you are. I see teammates at my own school and friends playing at every level struggling with similar issues. What people sometimes fail to understand is that when you make the decision to leave a team, it’s about so much more than just what you need. It’s about teammates, coaches, fans, and friends. It is so difficult for a person to put what’s truly best for them above the things they think they’re supposed to do or the things that they feel are best for those they care about. This is a beautifully written piece and you’re absolutely in the right to put what you need first.

    You seem like a beautiful person inside and out, and I hope that going home brings you peace and happiness! Thank you for sharing this piece, I know it will help so many athletes who have dealt with the same struggles.

    Best of luck:)

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  13. What an amazingly brave girl you are, I want to wish you all the best. My daughter played college volleyball and was in a similar situation, I wish she would have left as well. All the best to you and thank you for sharing.

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  14. You are so strong on the court…and off! As a mother from TEXAS with a daughter going far away to play volleyball this fall, your words are filled with emotion and are very powerful. We have used a sports psychologist and will continue to as she makes this new transition. She is exactly like you in having a strong desire to please others and to not dissapoint. She is also really close to her family. I look forward to your volleyball journey. You are so fun to watch and I know it brings you joy. I hope you find your joy off the court as well. Keep blogging! You have a following!!!

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  15. Dear Ebony, Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. You will always be a Trojan in my book and I know your mysterious future is going to be INCREDIBLE!!! Will miss watching you play, but I’m sure you’re making an excellent decision.

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  16. Good luck with your path! I’m a Texas Mom with a volleyball daughter in California. I’m also from Iowa so I can relate to it all. I just returned from there and like you said, it just gives you a space to clear your head. My daughter’s Grandmother was just placed in hospice. Oh and she is also blogging about being a college athlete. So I guess you have a lot in common. I enjoyed your perspective.

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  17. Ebony,

    Wow reading your blog is like reliving my life just months ago being a collegiate volleyball player. I struggled with the same exact thing you were and for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just knew that while I gained pleasure and joy from volleyball I was struggling internally for the longest time. I am also from Texas and I went to school in Arkansas, it may not have seemed that far away from each other but it was far enough. I also dealt with a lot of family problems prior to my collegiate career, and I always carried a huge burden being away from home when I left. I have to say that the decision to leave the sport I played since I was a little girl, walking away from a starting position, and giving up a scholarship was the hardest thing I ever did. Many people didn’t understand and many people won’t understand BUT just know that putting YOU above anyone else is the best thing you can do for yourself. I learned that I could never be the BEST version of me and reach my full potential until I found a place that makes me heart truly happy. And for me, that happy place meant moving back closer to home.

    Today, I am a regular girl on campus, dealing with a full time job, and sitting at home during the fall semester watching volleyball games on TV at home. Although my life doesn’t come with the benefits of what it did, I am truly happy in my heart and that’s all that matters. I still don’t know where I am going, but I am going somewhere.

    Keep on going girl, you have made the best decision for YOU and I am here to tell you that God does have a plan for you. There is so much out in the world waiting for you!!! I absolutely loved your blog post and hope to read more! Hang in there, it will get easier and make sense!!

    Morgan

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  18. Reading this brought me to tears. My daughter struggles with depression and, when volleyball seemingly was supposed to be a positive outlet, it has created another layer of depression for her. She now has decided to move back to Texas to live with her dad and I am devastated beyond words. She has been sinking and treading water with the drive and hope that volleyball will rescue her. I worry, but I trust the Lord will bring her to a place that is peaceful and full of love and for the game of volleyball and life.

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  19. Thank you for sharing! I recently went through a very similar situation at a different school in a different sport, and reading this was like talking to someone who understands when few people have. I made the move back to my home state (TX) after my sophomore year and can honestly say I have no regrets and am so much happier with my situation and myself. It can be difficult to make such drastic changes, but sometimes that is exactly what you need! Good luck with everything, I’m rooting for you!

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  20. This is an amazing story. This is problem for a lot of athletes. At the end of the day all you have is yourself and you have to do what’s best for you. I support you and wherever you go in life, I will always support you! ❤️

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  21. I’m you, just twenty years down the road. You are brave for sharing and brave for choosing to take care of yourself. Hoping more student-athletes learn to be honest with themselves and take inventory of who they are along the way. My hope is that clubs and colleges and universities train whole athletes, not just volleyball players or football players. It’s a wonderful experience to be a student athlete. I’d say you represent the majority of those playing rather than just a select few who struggle. Bravo, kid.

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  22. Thank you, for sharing your story. I had the honor of reading this becaused it was shared on FB by a friend. So many girls get to a place of emotional struggle and do not know what to do. You made the choice to seek out emotional support and gain wisdom and insight into what you were thinking and feeling. I wish all girls were being taught about identity and worth from the time they are born. You are a very strong and brave woman that has set a wonderful example of allowing yourself to be important and taking care of what you need. Congratulations on your bravery and the new season of life you are stepping forward into.

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  23. Ebony,
    This is a powerful and honest post that should be read by parents and athletes alike. There is so much pressure for athletes at a high level, and you are so right to point out that sports should not define who you are. Thank you for sharing this, so others can have a deeper perspective of the paths they might choose and the potential consequences to consider. Blessings and prayers as you go the way God has led you!

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  24. I think you are making the right decision. I think you are on the right path. I think you took the right turn along that path rather than settling for the road to mediocrity. Above all, you have to be happy where you are. Enjoyed watching you play at Galen Center and best wishes for a happy landing:)

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  25. Beautiful and smart… You are going to continue being a force. Our world is blessed to have you growing up in it and I look forward to following you through your blogs and seeing where your light shines next. Powerful that you understand GOD values you and that you deserve to take care of you.
    Go get em.

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  26. Ebony you are truly a class act! I’ve watched you play over the years since Nationals in 2013. You actually played against my daughters team in the gold medal round. I saw your killer instinct and poise even then. As the mother of two collegiate athletes and wife of a professional athlete, I have some idea of your struggles and the hard work, sacrifice and dedication it takes to play at this level for so long. I’m so proud of you for making this tough decision and living your truth. Trust me when I tell you, you’ve helped a lot of other young people who are struggling to make these kinds of tough decisions. Let God continue to guide you on your journey. I know that incredible things are in your future. God Bless and keep us all updated on your blog. 😊

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  27. Ebony, beautifully written. This should be shared with many college athletes away from home. At my college throughout my four years on the volleyball team I witness so many of my teammates struggle the way you did. I agree counseling is a very good choice to help point us in the right direction.
    Good luck with your future and keep playing volleyball. Hopefully you can stay involved in the volleyball community, we need people like you!
    Sabrina

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  28. Ebony, you rock! As you can see, you have inspired many with your choice to share your journey thus far. This is just the beginning of the greatness you are destined to fulfill.

    Continue to believe in yourself. You already possess the tools necessary for progression. I am extremely proud of you and glad to have met you in SAAS.

    Every champion needs a champion; a person who supports your ever growing development. That being said: I AM A CHAMPION FOR EBONY! #Champion4Ebony

    Sincerely,
    Kathy

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  29. Ebony,

    I remember playing you in club 18s yeat and being like “she’s so good. She’s going to be an all American.” Like you I’m a division one athlete, and like you have felt how you have felt. But I wasn’t strong enough to make the decision that you made. I played since I was 12. Every decision before college was influenced by volleyball. I felt like the scholarship I earned was worth it. So now I can’t swallow my pride and give it up. I’m still in spring portion and have stopped looking at volleyball as a job. It’s so much more fulfilling when you do it cause you move the game.

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  30. Ebony, I read your story as it showed up on my Facebook newsfeed from a volleyball parent. I am blown away by your incredible courage and also the hope it gives to me. As a parent of a high school athlete who suffers from depression brought on by stress and anxiety, I understand what you have been going through and the struggle it brings to everyday living. My daughter is making the difficult decision to stop playing competitive soccer, a sport she has loved and played since she was five. We fully support her, but your “Jumbled Explanation” has brought new light and meaning to her decision. Thank you so much for this and helping this mom see the light. Wishing you much much happiness in your future endeavors! God bless.

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  31. Ebony – thank you for your openness, honesty, and vulnerability on such a difficult subject. You have written so well what so many athletes experience, but can not talk about. Everything you describe is one of the main reasons I went into personal coaching – working with athletes on this exact issue. There needs to be more support. And through sharing our stories and creating more awareness around this, more people can hopefully begin to get more of the support they need. Wishing you all the luck on your new path. — Erica Cenci

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  32. Dear Ebony,

    You probably won’t remember me, but I’m a volleyball dad from McKinney, TX, (my daughter’s on Mad Frog’s top 14s team this year) and I’m also a USC alum (1981), who grew up in Newport Beach and moved to Dallas after grad school. I saw you play at Lonestar and at Nationals, and you were kind enough to take a photo with me while I was wearing my SC sweatshirt at Lonestar, when you had committed to USC, but were still at TAV. I moved to Texas on purpose 25 years ago for the friendly people and for a culture where if you say you went to church, people don’t scream at you, like a blind date yelled at me one time when a buddy and I took her and her law school roommate out to dinner in Brentwood back in 1984. I still have very close friends in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna and San Clemente, along with my father and my sister and her family. They’re great people, and they love God, too, so, I’m not ripping southern Cal at all, I’m just saying I know that there’s a difference in culture and overall friendliness from strangers . I’ve dealt with some anxiety issues myself, and although I am sad I won’t get to turn on the TV and see you playing for the Trojans any more, I totally support you and your decision. Once you’re a Trojan, you’re part of the Trojan family, even if you move back home to be close to your family. If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know. I believe you are keeping the spirit of Fight On in your own way, doing what you need to do for your own health and to support your family. I’m praying for you. When times are tough, you Fight On. And I believe you are still doing that. I’m proud of you, and I’ll keep being proud of you. I spoke with Coach when he was out at Lonestar the last summer, in 2014, and he really admired you. I bet he still does, even if he’s sad to lose you from his team. The only thing I ask, is please don’t go play for Notre Dame! I’ll remain your fan, Jeff. Fight On! PS – My daughter, Caroline, told me tonight that she is so excited to meet April Ross tomorrow night at a beach clinic at Craig Ranch in McKinney. I bet she would be excited to meet you, too. Welcome back home to Texas.

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  33. Love you girl…. Open arms here in Texas. Thank you for your honesty. But more importantly than that….you’ve learned to listen to your heart. That can’t be taught only experienced. Trust what you feel and know, God will provide the path, you just walk it.

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  34. Ebony, first I want to say wow and thank you, for sharing your story and your struggles in this hard time you’re going through. With that being said I want you to know how much I look up to you and admire everything you’ve done in the past years through volleyball and just through your life journey sharing God’s love with every moment you can. I grew up playing volleyball at TAV, and after reading this I wanted to make sure I said something. Growing up in TAV I always looked up to you, you were an amazing player of the game and it really showed you were so in love with it. You had a way of reminding me why I fell in love with the game. I am just finishing my first year at Baylor and I thought the rest of my life would be volleyball and I wasn’t really anyone without it, but through time I’ve realized that God had something else in store for me and I just wanted to say that you sharing you’re story has shown me that its okay for life to change its course sometimes. Thank you for being the inspiration ever since I saw you play at Lonestar when I was 14.

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  35. Being a college athlete who is graduating and also far from home I understand your sentiments. For graduate school I will be going twice the distance away from home haha. I had those same issues my freshman year and some of sophomore year along with my teammate toby jo who is from Ogden, Iowa and the best thing I did was talk, try to figure out what was the issue. I applaud you for opening up and speaking out loud. Best of luck where ever you go… and don’t forget the NCAA is a family for athletes, attend some conventions and take up some opportunities to meet even more amazing “teammates” even if they are from different schools!

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  36. Ebony, Here is part of my my blogpost about yours.
    Bravo, my dear girl.
    Bless you,
    Sonya

    I am a mom and it surely goes without saying that we, women, are thankful for the historically significant Title IX and it’s righteously legislated opportunities for girls and women. Sometimes, though, that expressed and overwhelming gratitude silences our female voices. The very voices that may need to bend an ear or two.

    Bravo, Ebony for being courageous with your words, for giving voice to the conversation of depression, anxiety, injury, recruiting, college culture, and female team sports.

    May your next steps be good steps.

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  37. Thank you so much Ebony. My daughter used to watch you and Chi at TAV and was amazed by you. She was 12 when she told me “Mom she passed by me and I only came up to her hip” ..lol. Sharing your story is great for the young vb players but even better for the parents to understand that their daughter’s mental and physical health comes first. I have been trying to plan my daughters future in volleyball, because after all, we are told that club vb is an investment that will pay off later. Now I wonder at what cost. Thanks for opening up the conversation and helping me to take a back seat and let it be what it is going to be:)

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  38. Aloha Ebony!

    First off, mahalo for sharing yourself to the volleyball community. Wherever you end up, you will do amazing! Anxiety and depression is definitely no joke. I too have suffered with it for years and it can be straining many times over. But you are a conqueror and I am excited in where life takes you.
    You inspire people like myself to continue to press forward and stay strong even in the roughest of days. You got this! Stay blessed and always stay encouraged. Never give up and never surrender. You are a shining light! Keep on shining! Aloha.

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  39. Wow! Your story hit so close to home. You are an amazingly strong, wise, brave young lady. You had the strength to get help and look within yourself for what you truly needed. I am a mother of two student athletes. One will be graduating HS next week, the other in three years. This should be required reading for all students going off to school and their parents. I lost my brother last year. He chose to deal with his metal illness the wrong way while he was a freshman at UCLA. The choices he made at such a young age, set him on a self destructive path that he would never be able to get off of, and would ultimately end his life.
    I hope your journey becomes a example for other young people and it helps them realize they are not alone and that getting help is ok. I hope your story enlightens many parents and college staff as they deal with young adults. Thank you!

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  40. Hi Ebony,
    I am a volleyball mom and of Nigerian descent and you know we love and support our own. Thank you for writing this article, you are so mature, and it helps give us pushy parents insight into what might be going into our kids minds. You will be great in Texas!!

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  41. Ebony, I’m coming in late to this discussion as I watch a recorded match of you playing for the first time in a Texas uniform. I saw you play for TAV about four years ago in Baltimore, Maryland at the North East Qualifier. It was obvious even then that you were a special person and player. Your decisions to seek help for depression and anxiety and to leave USC took a lot of courage. Inner peace makes such a difference in our perspectives and in life in general. It’s great that you were able to figure that out and seek what was best for you at such a young age. Best wishes to you as you continue your journey at Texas.

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  42. Ebony, I’m obviously late to the game on this post. I just saw UT play on ESPN tonight and looked up the roster. I was curious as to why you were now at UT and ran across your blog. As soon as I finished reading I forwarded it to my 17 year-old daughter. She doesn’t play volleyball anymore but I do know at some point she will struggle with, as you so elequently stated, what she wants as opposed to what others want for her. It’s a question faced by countless young men and women.
    I am very impressed with your maturity, your willingness to get help and your humility. These qualities will take you very far in life. You’re a role model to young ladies and thank you for sharing how you arrived at your decision. Although I’m an Aggie, best wishes at UT!

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