Wildway Crew Stories: Kelsey Robinson (Volleyball)
Our Wildway Crew highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Within each of us lies the potential to live life to the fullest. We have the ability to choose our own destiny, live without fear or limits, challenge ourselves and grow, do and be whatever makes us happy. We have the ability to be free. It's how you live a Wildway of life and there are people all around us inspiring others with their actions. We want to celebrate that by highlighting and honoring those who #LiveWild. (More on that here
Meet this week's featured Wildway Crew member:
Hometown: Bartlett, Illinois (Currently: Istanbul, Turkey)
Wildway of Life = Volleyball
Outlook = Focus on being present in everything I do and living with a sense of gratitude for the daily things in my life
Wildway of Choice = Gingerbread Granola
Meet Kelsey. At age 12, Kelsey set her sights on playing for the US Olympic Volleyball Team and did everything in her power to work toward that goal from training to nutrition. Her hard work and dedication paid off because not only did she make the team and play in the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics, but Kelsey walked away an Olympic Medalist. We are so proud to have her as a part of our Wildway Crew and hopefully we get to cheer her on at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Here is Kelsey's story in her own words:
In that moment, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian
"My wildway of life began at 12 years old when I knew exactly what I wanted for my life. I was glued to the TV watching Kerri Walsh and Misty May win Gold for Team USA at the 2004 Athens Olympics. I wanted to be on that stage, competing at the highest level of my sport, representing my country. I wanted to know what it felt like to be at the pinnacle of sports competing for a medal. In that moment, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian.
Fast forward a few years and at six foot two and lanky, making this dream a reality was going to be a challenge. So, I decided to try out multiple sports to see where I could excel the most. My athletic career began with dance classes – more specifically jazz and hip hop. If you’ve ever seen me on the dance floor, you can understand why that route didn’t work out. My parents decided that an activity involving hand/eye coordination might work out better.
Soon, I found myself playing softball in the spring and summer and volleyball and basketball in fall and winter. I fell in love with basketball early and dreamed of being the first girl in the NBA. During the beginning of my athletic career, I really learned the importance of fundamentals. There was no way I was going to be able to improve if I couldn’t master the fundamentals. This led me to spending hours before/after practice and on weekends or before school shooting baskets. I didn’t have as much passion for softball so while I stopped playing that sport, I kept with volleyball as a form of cross training.
After the initial first year of getting hit in the face on every play and being a constant drill killer, I realized I absolutely loved the game and started to get the hang of it. Many people say that sports can teach you life lessons, and while it always sounds cliché, it’s the absolute truth. From working and developing relationships with your team to understanding and valuing a commitment you’ve made. Volleyball has been a personal outlet for my entire life.
Volleyball has been a personal outlet for my entire life
From a long, lanky 10 year old kid to a 24 year old woman, I’ve grown up in the sport. With it I’ve been able to see places most people never see in a lifetime, I have best friends in countries all over the world, and I have an incredible sense of gratitude for my home and the people I love. I’ve always said that if you want to know who I am, watch me play.
If you want to know who I am, watch me play
For me, and I can imagine most athletes, it is the truest expression of myself. It’s where everything just makes sense. And when things in my life become stressors, they’re immediately blocked out when I step on to the court. Volleyball has given me a sense of self and has allowed me to pursue my dreams.
When I turned pro at 22 right after college, my body became my job. When you are younger you can get away with not fueling properly or not getting enough sleep. If i wanted to compete at the highest level and if I truly wanted to become an olympian, I had to commit myself to putting my body’s needs first. This in turn has helped me to have a lasting career and to perform at my best no matter how tired I may be.
I dove into nutrition and health and anything that could be used to speed up recovery, fight inflammation, and overall prevent injury. Many people rely on rehab but I’m a firm believer in the foods that we put in our body can do much of the rehab for us.
The foods that we put in our body can do much of the rehab for us
For a while I was making everything from scratch. Most of our contracts are for leagues all over the world. Living in Italy or Turkey or China doesn’t always provide those paleo treats or organic coconut milks we can so often find easily at any Whole Foods. Wildway has filled that gap for me by providing an all in one solution in their smoothie kits as well as granola that I can take with me overseas. Not only does it make things easier as an athlete, but it provides that taste of home that you’d give anything for around 4 months into a season.
As a professional volleyball player, we spend most of our time (7-8 months a year) overseas. Then we train in the USA gym, competing for a spot on a 12 man roster for the Olympics all summer. There are no days off. We have two weeks off total a year. We are constantly faced with pressure, heartbreak, and disappointment through roster decisions, daily performances, or earning less than a gold. But what the team has taught me is that you can choose to respond with self pity or you can choose to find a way to get where you want to go regardless of what cards have been dealt.
I feel so strongly that you can truly achieve everything you want in this world if you have the ability to be resilient and to pursue it with love. And in the end, regardless of what the result is, you’ll be grateful for the process and the doors that have been opened along the way.
For me, every day is an opportunity to get just a little bit better in whatever it may be nutrition, performance, recovery, etc. I think the power in knowing that is greater than any win or medal or championship. To know that you have the ability to choose how you want to respond to what happens to you daily, and how you want to affect the people you interact with is a gift."
Every day is an opportunity to get just a little bit better
Live Wild. Bump, Set, Spike Wild.
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