MY PERSONAL STORY TO SHARE…
My name is Abby, and I am the assistant coach for our 15-1, as well as “float” coach to all the other teams at HSA.
Some people know I have always been challenged with health issues. Nothing life threatening, but definite challenges. Many have noticed and some have asked questions about my hair and I feel it’s an appropriate time to share something about myself with you all!
I have androgenic alopecia. Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women, with most hair loss occurring between ages 12-40. My hair has been thinning pretty heavily since I was about 17, so this is nothing new to me, but currently, is very noticeable and more significant, especially in the last few weeks.
It is very important to me that I share this with the whole HSA family because I believe it’s necessary to have a support system who understands your obstacles and struggles and to help tackle the challenge ahead.
One of the best things about coaching, and (previously) playing for High Street, is that I learned we are one huge family, so no matter what you’re going through, everyone cares for you as a person and wants to make sure you’re okay! To show the younger athletes and current families, by leading as an example, I decided to share with you all…you know, just to keep my FAMILY updated.
It’s very important to remember, and constantly remind ourselves as women, that the way we look isn’t a character-defining trait – hair included.
“I’ve mentored Abby as a player and now Coach, for 5 years. This has NOT been an easy path or process, for Abby or the staff. Abby has always been worth fighting for and if our players learn anything from knowing Abby’s current or past challenges, they will see that even when it looks ugly, we will fight for YOU! We will stand up WITH YOU. We will go through the trenches, WITH YOU. Sharing fears and weaknesses, be it in our control of our of our control, is NEVER easy and arguably embarrassing and gut-wrenching…but is it necessary. Understanding the “why” among our family takes trust and the willingness to use your support system. Something we encourage all the athletes in our program to do. Be specific in our goals. Be specific in our feedback. Be genuine with our comments. Set the bar high, by our examples, in what it means to genuinely be a family that fights with and against their family for the betterment of the family. We know the grass isn’t greener on the other side and we want our athletes, coaches and families to lead by example in what it looks like and feels like to be a FAMILY. I couldn’t be more proud of YOU, Abby Cleaveland, as a person, as a coach, and….wait for it…again, AS A PLAYER!!!!!” – Owner, Kilee Goetz Bailey
Earlier this week, Abby accepted a position to play for Lourdes University, in Sylvania, Ohio, which is the BEST possible fit she could have dreamed!!! She will continue to play the sport she loves, get a degree in the field(s) she EXCELS and continue to coach for the program she helped build from the ground up as a player, and now, very impactful coach plus new mentor to our athletes!!!
Abby, you are stronger than most and we are privileged to know you and work next to you! You are the perfect idol for future athletes and reflection of High Street Volleyball. Let your light continue to shine bright!!
Parents, if you have time, sit with your daughter and talk to them about all the ways they can use their networks, fight for their own futures and be confident in their own skin!! It never falls on deaf ears…they are listening.