Beyond Athletics

What Would Your ESPY Speech Sound Like?

the US women's national team about to hear an ESPY speech at the awards

(Flickr – Disney ABC)

The annual ESPY awards took place Wednesday night, and I have to say, I’m a sucker for watching athletes gussy up and hit the red carpet.

Last night did not disappoint.

But as I watched the athletes with their friends, family, and significant others, it got me thinking about how each of them got to this place. From stars like Russell Wilson, to up-and-comers like Mo’Ne Davis, to trailblazers like Danica Patrick, how unbelievable to have so many different people brought together by one common thread: the power of sport.

As athletes began taking the stage to take home their hardware, I started thinking about what my ESPY acceptance speech might sound like.

Not like I was walking around my apartment, shampoo bottle in hand, wiping invisible tears, and giving a wave — (Okay, maybe I do a little bit…) — but I mean deep down. If I were to be on one the grandest stages, what would I say? Who or what do I work hard for, would I attribute my success to, would I want to bring awareness for? What’s my message to the world?

Someone who did all of the above beautifully was former Notre Dame women’s basketball player and Iraq war veteran (and Purple Heart recipient) Danielle Green. She challenged the audience:

“Ask yourself: What’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being? We can all find ways to support the people around us. We can all find a purpose on this Earth larger than yourself.”

Whoa. If I wasn’t already thinking before, Green had me doing a deep dive. And now I challenge you to do the same.

What would your ESPY speech sound like?

It’s the summer. You’ve got some extra time on your hands. Before you head into the new school year, sit down and reflect from the heart to aid you in moving forward. What is your purpose? What is your passion? Who has helped you along the way, and who do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? What would your speech sound like?

What is your message to the world – and are you living it?

If you’re living it, or working towards living it, keep it up, and keep striving to be better. If what you want to stand for, or what you want to be or leave behind isn’t in line with your words or actions now – it is never too late to start. This is going to be important for so many reasons – from the way college coaches look at you, to the kinds of opportunities you have and people you bring in your life, to most importantly, your happiness. Actions speak louder than words; figure out who you want to be and don’t waste another minute not working towards it.

Once you have these thoughts down, you have a draft of an essay you’ll be able to use for the Common App, and that you can put online on a digital profile so coaches can understand why you’re passionate about playing your sport in college. In addition to seeing your highlight video, knowing who you are and why you’ll be a great addition to their roster is one of the most important pieces of information a coach needs to learn about you.

If you thanked someone in your speech, let them know today.

Don’t wait for the chance to take the ESPY stage. Whether you do it often, or not nearly enough, thank your parents, or maybe your grandparents, a coach, or whoever came to mind when you scripted your “thank yous” for your award. Keeping up with you student-athletes is not easy, in fact, it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, make sure the people you hold nearest and dearest know they’re appreciated.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.