Saturday, August 25, 2012

Writing announcement

Hey my avid blog readers,
Thank you so much for supporting all my writing efforts. Every time the stat counter goes up, my motivation soars. As many of you know, I'm right in the midst of the Jamaica Travelogue series. Though I intend to finish this series in a timely manner, my blog presence will be slowing down as I work hard to finish my first novel. If you enjoy reading early draft novels and would like to read mine and give me feedback, you can email me at rokhoppr4@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your patience. Unlike many other bloggers, I value quality over quantity, which isn't the best way to retain heavy readership in the blog world. This is why I respect you guys so much.

-Liz Glines

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Not an Olympian


Below is the testimony that I gave at a Wednesday Worship service at Marble Collegiate Church. 


In the Olympics, only one will get the Gold, but what does that mean for the rest of us?


I thought that one day I too would be a professional athlete and go to the Olympics. From ages 5 to 16, my entire life revolved around soccer. Some called it foolishness or unmedicated ADD, and others called it talent. I had this innate ability to charge the ball, face-first, which marked the beginning of my goaltending career. As I got older, I realized that being a scoring forward was the more desirable position, but that just made me appreciate what I did, knowing that others on my team could depend on me to take the position that no one wanted and get the job done.

My dreams of being a professional athlete seemed so realistic and practical to me, and my parents encouraged the dream by enrolling me in the local soccer league each year. When I outgrew my first jersey, I signed it in permanent marker thinking it would be worth something, someday.

I took my ambitions seriously and trained hard. Though there were limited spots for a goaltender on the high school varsity team, I was patient but persistent.

I remember the first time I played in a varsity game. The varsity coach sent someone’s little brother, Ricky, on his bicycle down the street to our JV field. Ricky stopped his bike and pulled out a note from his Doritos bag, which announced that the varsity goaltender had been injured and that I should be pulled out of my game and head to “the big field.”

Even though I only touched the ball twice and was forced by my teammates to hold onto the ball until the clock ran out, playing this game meant that perhaps my dreams were shared and encouraged by others.

The father of one of my teammates believed in me so much, he paid for me to practice and play with an elite club team. This was an opportunity to not only train with a better team but possibly catch the eye of a college scout looking to recruit an ambitious goalkeeper.

Although no one but soccer moms showed up to our games, club soccer opened my world up to other opportunities for exposure. A program called the ODP, Olympic Development Program, caught my attention. I learned that my idol, the US Women’s Olympic team goaltender (at the time), Briana Scurry, played in an ODP when she was my age. I was determined to try out for it the next fall, which would be my senior year of high school.  

I spent nearly every day, the summer before my senior year, running and doing keeper drills by myself, from morning until dusk, when the mosquitos came out. I didn’t want to be that unprepared girl thrown in a game, because there was no other option. I wanted to not only pull my weight but be depended on when needed most.

Pre-season was often nicknamed “hell week,” because anyone that spent the summer in front of the TV had a rough week of overtraining ahead of them, regardless of whether they were ready or not. But I was prepared, and this week seemed so easy, I could not wait for the season to start.

We were playing a scrimmage and were leading our league rivals by six points, which means I was bored silly. The ball hadn't been on my half of the field for a while, so I began to gallop side-to-side to keep my muscles warm. One minute I laughed and thought, “this is my senior year, I’m going to make this team no matter what I do,” and the next minute, I tripped over my feet and instantly broke my collarbone. In a snap, my high school season was over before it began, and I lost my chance of trying out for the ODP.

“There goes the season,” the coach said—the sad reality that I was, in fact, depended on.

As a 16-year-old kid, my whole world revolved around the grades I got and the team I played for. My life was over. I had a learning disability that I never really focused too much attention on. My grades weren’t as strong as they could be, but I was suddenly in a position, where I had to think about not being an athlete. I had spent my high school career avoiding the “how can I afford college” question, because I had depended on earning an athletic scholarship. I was relieved to get accepted to a school, where I could focus on my second passion, writing, but my family wasn't sure how we would be able to afford it.

During the first semester of classes, my life felt an unfulfillable void, but I soon discovered that this other passion would take over my life. I exerted all the energy previously reserved for soccer into improving my writing craft, and I gained the support of my professors, who knew of my financial hardship and encouraged me to apply for grants so I could stay in the program. By the end of my first year of college, I was rewarded a $20,000 writing scholarship. This was enough for me to stay and offered proof that perhaps this writing dream was worth pursuing too.

My writing passion blossomed throughout my college years and took me to New York, where I now work as a copywriter for an ad agency. Because of an injury that marked the end of my soccer career, God had put me on the path to begin something I loved even more.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned from this is to trust in what God has planned for you. Only one will get the Gold, but sometimes there is something better out there for those that fall short.


"I am" by Kirk Franklin