BOUNCING BACK
Former track star turned rising WNBA player Marion Jones talks about starting over.

Written by  Marion Jones as told to Nina Hemphill Reeder


You can always make today better than yesterday. If I had a bad practice today, I have the power to make tomorrow better. I might make a bad pass or have a game where we don’t play as well as we should, but if you have heart, things can get better. And it’s not just in sports, it applies to pretty much everything in life. See what you did wrong, learn from it, but tomorrow is a new day for you to make better choices or for you to improve on whatever happened yesterday.

I can certainly speak from experience as somebody who has unfortunately had their mistakes broadcast worldwide. I think that the low point was realizing that I disappointed a lot of people—myself, my family, my friends, my fans. But I got to a certain point where I realized I can certainly just hang out in the depths of despair or I can just make the conscious decision to say, “Hey—it happened, I made poor choices, bad decisions, mistakes, but now what am I going to do moving forward?”

Don’t get me wrong, every day is not sunny and bright. I have my moments where I still question why I made certain choices and, gosh, I wish I could go back. But it is a process—a process of forgiving myself, healing and moving forward. There were moments where I really felt like I couldn’t take any more and when I questioned how am I going to move forward. But I’m a firm believer of faith, and that’s what helped me through.

Sometimes it takes making a mistake or being at the lowest of lows to discover God and to figure out your direction; and I say that’s exactly how it is supposed to be. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. My God must have a lot of faith in me to have me go through all of this. And I really can’t let Him down by not pressing forward. I have an opportunity now to play a sport once again at the highest level. Playing for the Tulsa Shock is an awesome second chance for me. I could have easily just disappeared, but I really felt that I would be doing a disservice to what God has just blessed me with.

I have three little kids. I teach them when you make mistakes, it’s important that you fess up to them, accept the consequence and then make it right. And I couldn’t be a hypocrite in telling them that every day, but then I decide to quietly disappear and hide in my past. There is not one single person on this planet who at some point hasn’t made a wrong move. It happens, but things are never so bad that you can’t overcome them. So no matter your situation, my advice would be to move forward and realize that all of us make mistakes. Moving forward is so important. You have the ability to control your own destiny, so start by looking toward it.

 


Marion Jones, prior to her professional track and field career, was the starting freshman point guard for University of North Carolina’s 1994 NCAA championship team. Once recognized as the world’s fastest woman, Jones won five Olympic medals in track and field, but was stripped of them all after admitting to steroid use. She also served six months in jail for perjury in 2008. Now, the proud wife and mother of three, ages 6, 2 and 13 months, plays as a guard for the WNBA Oklahoma team Tulsa Shock and hopes her journey will inspire others.

 

 

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