Athletics News

S & R Sport Athlete Of The Month - December 2013 - Bailey Mena


Dec. 13, 2013

The winner of the S & R Sport Athlete of the Month for December 2013 is Bailey Mena of C-Cal Water Polo and Mt. Whitney High School. To nominate an athlete you think is worthy email media@usawaterpolo.org. For winning, Bailey will receive a $50 gift certificate to SRSport.com. Here is the nomination submitted for Bailey.

Bailey Mena is in the 12th Grade at Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, California.  She is a member of C-Cal Club Waterpolo Team, which is a brand new team and the first team in place for the youth in Tulare County.  Although this team is newly developed they managed to qualify and compete in the 2013 Jr. Olympics in Irvine California and Bailey played a role in that success.  She has been on the Varsity team for three of her four years of high school and was this year awarded MVP, Captain and starter of her high school waterpolo team.  Previous years she was nominated as Offensive Player of the year.  She played a vital role in the success of their season (all city champs - the only high school girls waterpolo team in Visalia to beat all the other high schools in Visalia twice!!).  Bailey was awarded 2013 Academic All - American by USA Waterpolo.  She maintained a 4.3 GPA ranking top fifth in her senior class.  I found an essay that Bailey wrote with her thoughts and feelings on waterpolo - I believe after you read it you will know that she most definitely is an easy choice for Athlete of the Month. 
 
 
By Bailey Mena - November 2013
 

There is no feeling like being in water. From when I was seven years old to this day, being on the water or on that pool deck is like my second home. I swam on a recreation swim team for about nine years, and when I entered high school I went out for the Mt.Whitney Girl's Water Polo Team. My experiences on this team have opened my eyes to a whole new side of myself.

While swimming I was never one of those kids that received all of the first place ribbons, or many ribbons in general. I swam because I loved it. I eventually accepted the fact that I wasn't getting first, or second, or even third place. I was not competitive whatsoever. Then when I began to play water polo, people started to compliment me on my new found abilities. Suddenly, my self confidence grew as well as my drive to be the best. I progressed quickly with the other girls. I had finally found a sport that I succeeded in and had a strong passion for. I was fed up coming in last; I wanted to be the best. It was a whole different side of me that I hadn't discovered up until this point in my life, and it felt good.

Water polo has also challenged me mentally in countless ways. Going into water polo, I was not used to having a coach screaming and yelling the majority of the time. I had to learn to be strong and listen to the words my coach was saying rather than the tone he was saying it in. It used to be difficult to take constructive criticism; but while playing water polo, it has taught me how to handle that. In water polo, I now know how to control my emotions. While playing in a game, I had to learn to stay humble and at the same time to stay confident in myself and my team. If I missed a shot, I couldn’t get down on myself, I just had to use that as motivation during my next opportunity. If I did make the shot, I couldn’t let my sudden success go to my head, and become too over confident. I have realized that I must remain level headed no matter what the score.

Every team has their good games and bad games. My team was no different. There were some games that were played well and others games that were not so great. Regardless, win or lose, we had to hold our heads high, congratulate out opponents and move on. I have felt the accomplishment and disappointment of winning and losing a game. The key is to take what went wrong and use it to improve. 

This intense water sport has changed my life in so many ways. It has broken my shell of insecurities and made me confident; it has broken me down, and built me up. For every morning practice, every Hell Week I have endured, every game I have won and lost, I consider them all some of my great accomplishments and experiences. I can honestly say that I am proud of myself and how much I have grown as a person, and it is all because of water polo. 

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