We take inspiration from other people when it comes to music, fashion and other lifestyle scenarios – especially in today’s digital age where social media influencers are heavily involved in advertising brands and products. When we look up to a role model, we are challenged to be better, encouraged to try our best and supported when needed. Who does Coach Megan look up to when she has to overcome something? Read on to find out!
There are many inspiring people all over the world, but an athlete that I really admire and look up to is Sarah Sponcil. She played volleyball at LMU, then at UCLA and most recently played beach volleyball in the 2020/21 Tokyo Olympics. I was fortunate enough to play with her at UCLA for two years before she graduated. She wasn’t my partner, but just having her as a teammate was so amazing! Experiencing her incredible work ethic, drive and dedication firsthand really motivated me and the rest of our team to raise our own standards of training. She is so intentional about setting goals and working hard to achieve them.
Watching Sarah transition from college beach volleyball to the professional tour was so inspiring. In her first professional tournament on the AVP circuit (the U.S.’s pro beach tour), she placed 3rd! Her partner, who was a former Olympian, had noticed Sarah and her talent and invited her to play. That speaks volumes about how hard Sarah works and her drive.
Just a few years after playing on the pro tour, she qualified for the Olympics. She and her partner set the record for the youngest beach volleyball Olympic team, at ages 24 and 25, which is a testament to all the hard training and work she put in. Sarah is INCREDIBLE at defense, and if you’ve ever watched her play you know how she sacrifices her body, sprints across the court and contorts her body to dig the ball. She won’t give up on a play, and I try to channel that mindset when I play. Also, whenever I’m not looking forward to a workout or anxious about how hard it might be, I think about how Sarah would see it as an opportunity to get better and really embrace the challenge of training. Sarah Sponcil is an incredible role model and athlete, and anyone could find inspiration from her determination and grind.