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Deer Lake's Brooklyn Rodgers believes more to Games than medals

Brooklyn Rodgers of the host female volleyball team poses for a photo Tuesday afternoon at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex where she watched the gold-medal game in male hockey with her teammates.
Brooklyn Rodgers of the host female volleyball team poses for a photo Tuesday afternoon at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex where she watched the gold-medal game in male hockey with her teammates. - Dave Kearsey

Winning a medal of any colour or nailing a personal best are always icing on the cake for athletes with a competitive edge, but Brooklyn Rodgers believes there is a bigger reward that comes with being committed to having fun doing what you love to do.

Rodgers, a 14-year-old Grade 9 student at Xavier Junior High in Deer Lake, served as the captain for the host female volleyball team at the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Deer Lake.

Rodgers dabbled in basketball for a couple of years while honing her volleyball skills, but decided last year to stick with volleyball and see how far she could progress with her focus on one sport.

Sports has been a blessing in her life. She loves the great feeling that comes with being a member of a team working towards a common goal and sharing those experiences with other females who love doing what you do.

In a time when youth in this province are dealing with the pressure of drugs and alcohol while trying to earn their way through school Rodgers believes sports allows girls like her an outlet to stay away from anything that could be viewed as a negative impact on their life.

She spends two or three nights per week honing her volleyball skills, but she also keeps on top of things on the academic side of things because she believes a balance between both is a key to achieving good things in her life.

It’s time well spent, she figures, getting a chance to keep active, do some travel and meet other youth from around the province.

“It’s something that you like to do and you focus on it more than wanting to go out and party,” Rodgers said. “You want to succeed in what you’re trying to do and what you like to do.”

The host female volleyball squad finished in seventh place out of eight teams as the first half of the Games came to a close on Tuesday and Rodgers admits there were some meltdowns that caused the team to drop to the bottom of the standings.

But, she was proud of how the girls fought hard to be competitive in all their matches and she took a few life lessons away from the experience so she’s quite content.

“Try your hardest and never get up. You should never get down on yourself at all,” she said of her biggest lesson learned as she watched the gold-medal hockey game unfold at the Hodder Tuesday morning.

It was a special time for her to share the game with her teammates and family who cheered on my from the stands.

Smiles and laughs is all they had to show for their efforts, and that was just fine with Rodgers because she understands the Games are much more than an athletic event where winning is paramount.

“It was a great experience. We had a lot of fun and it gives us a lot of memories to look back on,” she said.

A chance to play the game she loves on familiar turf with family and friends on board for the journey … this girl left the Games feeling like a champion and didn’t need a medal around her neck to prove it.

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