The following letter came from former Creighton volleyball student manager Brittany Wing, who sent this from Peru. With her permission, we're reprinting it here.
Hello Kirsten, Hello Jays! Hello all friends near and far,
GREETINGS FROM PERU!
I am writing you from inside my small adobe home that I share with my host family. A solid layer of dust collects on the surface of all of my things, a sign that the fresh air blowing through my room all morning had brought with it a touch of the desert earth that surrounds me for miles. It was hot today, as usual, and I listened to the crunch of hot gravel, and watched the clouds of dust form under my feet as I walked to the school carrying a mesh bag filled with hope.
Inside the bag laid nine volleyballs, each one I inflated myself with a semi-broken hand pump doctored with some duct tape. I inspected each ball before placing it in the bag, feeling nostalgic for the times of recent years, of game nights, of practices, filled with the bouncing echo of volleyballs. A small ache formed in the back of my throat. Maybe I wanted to cry, or maybe I was just so happy for the memories I had collected, waiting for a moment just as this, to look back fondly on the incredible opportunity of working for Jays athletics during my years at Creighton.
Now 6,000 miles away in a foreign country, I walk to a concrete slab in the middle of a school yard, as children pound pieces of rebar into holes in the cement to put up some old poles that will hang a net. I step onto the slab, and many of the young boys rush up to me, asking to use the volleyballs for a round of soccer in the dirt. I take a stand, and demand respect for the volleyballs that have traveled so many miles for the chance for young girls in my community to know what it feels like to score a point in a game. I demand respect for the opportunity for young women to feel empowered, to feel the draw of a movement, of a team. The young boys seem disappointed, but I know they have already had their chance to shine on the freshly manicured soccer field down the road. I open up the bag, and the Creighton University volleyballs spill out onto the cement. The girls rush forward, grabbing the volleyballs, squealing with joy. As their hands grab eagerly for their new gift, I wonder if they will ever know how much greatness, how much effort, how much sweat, determination, and skill has touched the surface of these volleyballs. I wonder if someday, they will know what if feels like to stand in a packed stadium at the endline, serving gamepoint, hundreds of fans screaming their name. I am not naive, I am not unrealistic. I know that for most of these young girls, volleyball, or any sport for that matter, will simply be nothing more than a blip on the radar. But what they dont realize is this sport is a vessle, a movement, a way to set themselves free, and aspire to do something great. When I see these young women, I see a lifetime of gender roles fulfilled without question, a lifetime of chores, child rearing, and no upward mobility. I want to change this. And so I will. With volleyball.
It is only a sport, but we all know, it goes so much deeper than that. I aim to create a volleyball club for girls within my community to empower and encourage these ladies to become powerful peruvian women that aspire to greatness in all aspects of their lives. As all of you know, the sport of volleyball can become a platform for this type of personal development. Logistically, we will not make it to any national level tournaments, and we surely wont have the opportunity to travel and play on a competitive level. But what we will have the opportunity to do is hold a game, once a year, against the neighboring town. The boys are afforded this opportunity each and every year with a soccer game, and it is due time that the ladies at the school get the same opportunities.
I look forward to holding skill camps, evening practices, and small team tournaments with the young girls in my town. The generous donation that Creighton Volleyball has given this town speaks to these young peruvian girls on so many levels, that we could never express our gratitude. This is only the begining, but I know that the girls feel that this is truly an incredible opportunity, and a truly empowering experience.
I am thankful to have had the time to write you all, and share with you this story, so that you may know whether you are a player, a coach, a manager, or a Jays fan, You are Here, you are helping change the lives of these girls, one volleyball practice at a time. Thank You for your donation, and thank you for your kindness and support from so far away. Once a Jay, always a Jay, and I couldnt be happier to share a bond with such incredible, life changing individuals.
To my Creighton Volleyball family, I thank you dearly and endlessly, and I wish you luck this upcoming season.