NOTE: This is part of a series on athletics.covenant.edu with feature stories written by the student-athletes about their time at Covenant. This series is in conjunction with NCAA Division III Week (April 3-9), an annual event to celebrate the accomplishments on and off the field of student-athletes in the NCAA's largest division.
By Rachel Price
(Covenant '17; Women's Basketball)
Being at Covenant the last four years has not been a walk in the park. Like every student, I've done the no-sleep-last-minute cramming, late night runs to City Cafe, and debated whether to skip chapel or class to sleep. However, when I first arrived at Covenant, I didn't feel very "normal."
Covenant was not my first choice, or my second choice, but a week after graduating high school, I randomly decided to attend. I felt like I was being dragged to Covenant to play basketball, even though it was my choice. I was mad at this point. God did not exist, and if He did, He did not love me.
Let me explain myself, I was diagnosed with cancer halfway through my junior year of high school. My "normal" teenage life, with the hope to play basketball, was stripped away from me. I tried to continue to play and be a part of my team and school but it was challenging because of doctor appointments every week, chemotherapy every 14 days and, not to mention, sleeping 15 hours a day and trying not to be sick the other nine hours.
Basketball was my safe place, but at this point I never thought I would play again. After a little over a year of being sick, I entered remission with the mindset of going to a college as far away as possible so that no one would know me as the "cancer girl." As the Lord knew my plan, I started my college career and basketball at Covenant College, just under an hour from home in Sale Creek, Tenn.
Playing basketball the last four years has been one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had. It has allowed me to put God and my school work first, while still having a great basketball experience. It has built character, discipline, and allowed me to form great lifelong relationships. It helped me recover physically and mentally from my previous cancer experience. There were plenty of times freshman year that I just wanted to give up, more or less because my body felt like it could not go any farther. All my doctors were amazed at what I was doing and when I would complain about not being able to keep up, they would say it was okay and that what I was doing was not normal.
But to me, it was normal; basketball was normal. If I was not at Covenant, I am not sure if I would have experienced the same amount of love and support that I received. It was not all about basketball to them. It was more about preparing us for life and living a life that was pleasing to our Heavenly Father. The first time I was in the middle of a suicide (sprints) and a teammate yelled out, "do it for the Lord! Don't give up!", I was so confused. I didn't understand this concept. After my time at Covenant, I am able to understand. Basketball was this chapter in my life that I will always be thankful for, but it is nothing compared to Christ. It was something that I learned to enjoy as a blessing and not a curse, even though it brought pain and tears. Basketball was an opportunity that allowed me to create lifelong relationships. My teammates became my family, they are my sisters.
Being a D3 athlete, I fell in love with the game. If I didn't love the game, I would not make it as a D3 athlete. There were always other things I could be doing but I got to play college basketball, my one dream before having cancer.
Now that my college basketball career is over, I am preparing for the next chapter ahead. I'm headed to do some mission work where I will be playing basketball for their church league and then to further my education. When people say sorry after hearing that I had cancer, I say don't be, I would go through cancer a 100 times to be who I am today rather than who I was headed to be.
Basketball and Covenant will always be special to me for it helped shape me into who I am today.