“It takes a village to raise a child.” –African proverb
One month ago, I announced my departure from Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project. The program supported me for three adventurous years.
One week ago, I moved out of Tienken House. That house has supported generations of Hansons athletes. As I threw my final bag of junk in the car, things got real. For the first time since eighth grade, I was without a team. Without a coach. Without a tangible next step in play.
Olivia describes Tienken House as an old lady. Her parts still work, but they break down more often than they used to. She is creaky but cozy, and we adore her for it.
I left Tienken at 2 AM on a Friday. My roommates were gone at their respective holiday races, and I felt it was time to officially leave. But I had to say goodbye to our little old lady first.
I sat on her hardwood floors and thanked her for some amazing crops of roommates. Asked her how many tearful goodbyes she’s had. How many distressed ones. And how many were the right decision. To be honest, I’m still not convinced either way.
She knows it.
A couple weeks ago, I found myself in East Lansing. I didn’t tell anyone I was going. I wanted to hunker down in Michigan State’s Brody Cafeteria, like in my college days, and churn out job applications. I rented a $15 room on Air Bnb and ended up with poison ivy and pus-filled bug bites.
I also got a few interviews. Then some rejections. And I realized how lucky I am to have a giant, informal PR team that makes this entry-level candidate appeal to hiring managers.
My friend Matt Boltz picked me up in his Camaro and took professional headshots of me in the park. Victoria gutted out my resume, and Rose beautified it. Charisse sent me job openings in her company. Anne-Marie left sunflowers on my nightstand. Nicole interviewed me for a piece she’s working on. Teammates left me heartfelt notes.
I was overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, and social media messages. I haven’t responded to everything yet, but I’ve read every word sent to me. I am awed so many people reached out, and at how many continue to do so.
Even on my Michigan State getaway, where the goal involved zero social interaction, I found myself surrounded by supportive people. I had a much-needed talk with my old coach and a job-hunting session with two former teammates.
If it takes a village to raise a child, I wonder what a metropolis of support can do for a young adult. All these job recommendations, pieces of advice, listening ears, and words of encouragement mean the world to me. My village is vast and my heart is full.
As the Village People once said: There’s no need to be unhappy.