March 12, 2015

Forever Grateful

As my final year here at Stanford is coming to a close, I’ve gone through so many emotions in thinking about the past, present, and future. I am grateful for the past and for my time here as a student, athlete, teammate, sister, and friend. I appreciate the present, for there are not many more moments left here with the people I’ve spent the past four years of my life with. I am hopeful, nervous, and excited for the future, presenting itself as a new challenge and as something different. There is no doubt that I will miss my teammates. From my freshman to senior year, many things may have changed in the background, but the relationships and the friendships that develop never falter. I will carry them with me no matter where I go, and I know the same goes for the other seniors in my class.

The best way to express the way I feel is just to say thank you. Thank you to my friends and family back home for supporting me, encouraging me, and guiding me towards a path where success was attainable. Thank you to my mother for teaching me that grades were important, that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that work ethic and hard work are some of the most invaluable traits to have. Thank you to my father for helping me to fall in love with the game of basketball, for supporting my dreams, and enabling me to chase them. Thank you to my sister for making me want to be a person that you would want to look up to and be proud of. And thank you to my grandmother for sending me some of the best care packages a college student could ask for. Some of my happiest moments have derived from time spent with family when they come and support me during home games, the PAC-12 Tournament, and the NCAA Tournament. And if anyone knows me, the first place I go after we win a game is to the stands to see my family.

I also would like to thank all of my teammates, past and present. I remember my freshman experience and how the senior class (Nneka, Lindy, Grace, Sarah Boothe) took care of me, how nervous I was to start in my first game, and my first experience in the Final Four. I recall growing through ups and downs during my sophomore and junior years, and now almost finishing my final year here. Some days may have gone by slowly, but the years flew by. I hope that I was a good example to my teammates now and know that they will continue to do great things moving forward.

I’d like to thank the coaching staff and you guys reading this blog-the fans. I wouldn't have been as successful and would not have had the experience that I had today if it had not been for all the community support. Stanford fans are the greatest fans, and the fact that they care about us not only on the court but also as people and as individuals means the most.

And finally, I’d like to thank the game of basketball. I have loved you and I have played you since I was 5 years old. I’ve eaten, slept, watched, felt, and breathed you. You have been a partner to me in the biggest of ways. You’ve showed me the heartbreak of defeat and joy of coming out victorious. You’ve lifted my esteem and humbled me at the same time. And with you, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, received an elite level of education, and found one of my biggest passions and a way to express myself. I hope to play you for as long as I can, and when I can’t anymore, I will always be around you, watching and listening. I will never take you for granted. I will forever be grateful.

— Amber

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