Taylor Edwards | Volleyball | Sophomore | Defensive Specialist | St. Peters, Mo.
Representing the NAIA Champions of Character core value of Respect for the 2014-15 school year is Taylor Edwards. StephensStars.com caught up with Taylor to discuss the meaning of respect:
StephensStars.com - What does it mean to play with respect on the volleyball team at Stephens College?
Edwards: Respect starts at practice! You enter the gym in a positive mood! No matter what drill you’re doing, you always encourage your teammates to give 110%. When our coach is talking, it’s important to listen well and take her corrections as motivation to do better next time. You make the best out of every practice and you become a person that everyone else wants to be around.
It’s hard to realize that anything could happen while playing volleyball. It’s important to not take anything for granted, because things can change in the blink of an eye. From injuries to playing time, you need to understand that your teammates need support and helpful advice from you just as much as you need it from them.
The coaches, referees, scorekeepers, trainers, opponents and parents all have a huge impact on our sport. Playing with respect on the Stephens volleyball team means to always support and appreciate every single person involved on and off the court.
StephensStars.com - How does the respect that you have learned and displayed on the court translate to your personal and academic life?
Edwards - My professors and peers are a huge part of my personal and academic life. Every day that I walk into class, I sit down and learn from my professors. I give them my undivided attention and try to absorb all the information they are trying to teach me. No matter what mistakes I have made during an exam or homework, I always go to my teachers for their help and advice.
I also have some of the greatest friends and it would be a shame if I ever lost their friendship. So, I always choose to treat them with respect, because I know that they will return the favor. Whenever they’re feeling down, I always offer up my ears if they need to vent. I like to think that I’m a great listener and supporter!
StephensStars.com - Describe a specific situation when you’ve used respect around your teammates, coaches, opponents, and in doing so, represented Stephens College and the volleyball team in a positive manner…
Edwards - I always like to think that I am representing the volleyball team and myself in a positive manner. Having away games are truly challenging because you’re not in your element. You have to walk into someone else’s gym and represent the team in an awesome way and realize that possible recruits are watching your team very closely.
Home games are the best, though. You have your friends and your family cheering you on. You may even have some professors there too. Even during a difficult game, you never want these people to see you in a bad mood. It’s important to create a positive atmosphere on the court, because everyone in the stands will sense it. You cheer on your team and pick them up when they’re down. You encourage your teammates to work harder and cheer with them when they have made an amazing play. But most importantly, you always play with your heart. You leave everything on that court and play with 110 percent.
StephensStars.com - How does acting with respect set the groundwork for a successful career and life after your time at Stephens College?
Edwards - In any profession, it's extremely important to have respect. You will have many co-workers and bosses and it’s a necessity to work together as a team. Stephens College has taught me to accept and understand all people and their situations. Being a leader and treating people the way they should be treated will push you farther than any other person, and it will show just how compassionate and supportive you are.
StephensStars.com: Who is one person that you look up to in regards to respect?
Edwards - Definitely my mother! She works a very demanding job and works with so many other people. She must show respect as a boss and as a co-worker to not only lead by example, but to create strong work relationships. She has always told me to “treat others the way you want to be treated”…and that advice has stuck for 19 years. She has taught me that showing respect and truly caring for other people will push me to become an even better person. She also says, “You never know who could be watching”…and this pushes me to always lead by example.
StephensStars.com - What quote best describes the NAIA core value of respect?
Edwards - “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it's not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” - Dave Willis