This happened last March 18, 2012 during Crossworld Kalookan’s 20th Anniversary.
Be inspired, here it goes =)
Good afternoon everyone. It is indeed a privilege to be here in front of you.
As I look back and think of all the years I have been playing volleyball I just couldn’t express my joy and the fulfillment I’ve experienced. Until now I am overjoyed.
At first I really want to become a dentist as a profession but God made me realize that I have a talent that I should used to inspire others. I’m a bit scared honestly because I know for a fact that I might not be able to be a good volleyball player especially in collegiate level but I know God didn’t give us the spirit of fear rather the spirit of courage, so I hold on to His will and decided to study in De La Salle University and play volleyball.
Of course we will encounter trials along the way, something that is inevitable. In my first year in UAAP volleyball I was one of the lucky freshman who have given the chance to play for some time (play for substitution) and in the middle of the season I had a stress fracture in my left ankle and the doctor advised me not to play for 1 month and so I’m technically out of the season.
The next year when I am healed from my injury and ready to play again, because of some technicalities our university got suspended for the whole season and so I didn’t get the chance to play for that season but yes we were still practicing all year out even if we don’t have a league.
Then in my 3rd year, all of us were all excited to play again especially this time my batch was somehow the dominant batch of this season because some of our seniors have graduated already. After our qualifying term for UAAP, I had failing marks in my academics and that made me ineligible to play for UAAP Season 70. I was crushed that time and was so envious with my batch mates as I watched them play, I waited and trained for almost 3 years already and yet I still don’t get the chance to play. That time for me I think was so frustrating for me because nakakahiya yung reason ko na I failed my subjects. I forgot my responsibility of being a student-athlete. I started to asked and assess myself what have I done wrong with my life and why do I experience such, I even think of maybe I really should have gone study dentistry.
But these experiences made me long and seek for God. I felt something was missing and I realized that in my 3 years I didn’t put God as my center of my life. As Psalm 36:4-5 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart, Commit you way to the Lord trust in Him and He will do this” ito yung pinanghawakan ko ever since. When this season has ended I found out that our team got disqualified again but this time it’s just the women’s volleyball only.
The next season which is my 4th year in academics but 2nd year in my UAAP I got the chance to play this time (yes! All good things comes to those who wait! :) ) and we were successfully became champions then. The following year we were on the finals but ended up short, 1st runner up lang kami.
As for my 4th year in UAAP Season 73 and my last year in academics, God gave me a big responsibility, to be the captain of our team, at first im scared alam ko di ko kakayanin yun but Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make you paths straight” Without a doubt I trusted God with everything and let Him move in my life. Surprisingly this season went smooth, as the year and season ends I didn’t noticed na patapos nap ala and yes we again won the championship! It was my 4th playing year already and since I’m done na with my academics im planning to think that I should this time take up dentistry. But AGAIN, since i still have my one last year to play (because diba bumagsak ako sa subjects ko and didn’t get line up for a season) our coaches, managers, university and all the fans out there were bugging me about playing for my 5th year.
I went through a lot, I had pneumonia for a month and right after that nagkaroon ako ng yeast infection( other kind of amoebasis) and I lose almost 10 lbs. Sabi ko kay coach “coach di ko kakayanin, I think yung last season ko na yung kaya kong ibigay din na ata kaya ng katawan ko” I have few injuries rin, scolosis, minor injuries in both knees, ankle, right shoulder and left elbow. Pero sabi ni coach sakin “Cha hindi ko kailangan ng skills mo sa loob ng court, yung leadership mo kailangan ko” and then I started to think about it.
Honestly medyo nahirapan ako magisip about it. I literally asked everybody I know what’s their suggestion, to play? Or not to play? But again lahat ng sagot nila “to play”. For sometime I struggled with God again, feel ko para akong si Jacob bargaining but when Jacob gave his life to God, God gave him a new name Israel and He made him victorious in his life. I got goosebumps as i put up the pieces in my past, na baka kaya ako binagsak ni Lord sa subjects ko before and spared me not to be in the line up na disqualified, it was a blessing in disguise for me.I can’t help but cry. Grabe si Lord amazing! I was in awe lang when I realized this thing. Naasar ako sa sarili ko cuz during that time I almost got angry at Him na bakit niya ako di naline up. But everything has a reason pala.
Without a doubt I trust Him, sabi ko Lord kung maglalaro ako ikaw na bahala sa katawan ko mainjured na kung mainjured, maputol na kung mapuputol kung anuman part ng katawan ko dahil sa kapayatan ko (ever since I got the yeast infection and lost 10 lbs di na ako bumalik sa playing weight ko). I also had concern with financial since nasa states both parents ko and si ate lang working for us. But God made me realize not to worry about everthing “My Grace if sufficient for you” Sobrang dami ko pang ginagawang reason for me not to play, “baka ganito” “baka ganyan” pero ang lagging sagot sakin ni Lord “My grace is sufficient for you” God provided for everything, financial, eligibility to play, masters degree, di ko din alam kung pano nangyari, pero si Lord gumawa ng lahat. And lastly sabi ko Lord sige maglalaro ako and I will serve you but please help me to finish this race with your grace and anointing do not let me put into shame because I know there’s haters out there. You know what? In my devotion sinagot ako agad ni Lord in Matthew 17:28 God says “Woman you have great faith! Your request is granted!” I cried sabi ko eto na talaga yun and will ni Lord and I will completely trust in Him.
To cut the long story yes, naglaro ako for my last season. As I serve God, gumawa din ng move yung kaaway to distract me by doing His will, nainjured yung ka-teammate ko during the game and masakit dito kapatid ko, sabi ko Lord I know there will be trials especially in my family but you’ll take care of everything, God did took away all my heartaches and He allow me to focused in His will.
By God’s grace we became again champions, Back to Back champions! And may bonus pang Back to Back Finals Mvp :) I am so proud not with myself, but im so proud with the God I have. How he used me to share the word of God with my teammates and coaches, to inspire other people and made them believe that I have an awesome God in my life and I want to share it with others :)
Being into sports is an opportunity for me to hone my talent, character as an individually, a chance to help my family financially through my scholarship for undergraduate and graduate studies not just for me but also for my brother and sisters and especially to share God’s word to other people. I finished my Undergraduate course BS Psychology and currently taking Masters In Special Education. As much as I want to talk more about sports it might take me too long for me to discuss everything. But let me share with you some things about sports. Yes its true you need the skills, the talent that would help you enjoy more what you are into. You should also have the passion. The heart that would help you stay and fall in love with it. But most importantly the heart that serves a purpose. And that purpose is to share God’s love with the best of our abilities and to GLORIFY Him alone with whatever we do and with whatever we achieve. If you have the passion and love for God, and also with an obedient heart… everything will fall into the right and perfect place.
Let me end by sharing one more thing with you. For me being an athlete doesn’t end on the skills that you developed while you play but rather its all about the character you build in and out of the playing court. What matters most is the impact you’ve shared with other people and how you use your life to glorify our living God. It’s more fulfilling to know you’ve touched the lives of other people through sports. Again I am CHA CRUZ and with everything I am I am proud to say that we have an amazing LORD and I want to GLORIFY Him forever. Thank you everyone for listening to me. God bless us all :)
— Charleen Abigaile R. Cruz