Refusing To Fail

Riley Simmons

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I’ve come this close to quitting a few times in my career.

My journey as a thrower has basically been the opposite of a smooth ride.

I committed to my dream school… but it wasn’t a healthy fit for me.

With hope, I transferred to Auburn. 

My coach left, and my scholarship got cut before I stepped into the sector.

I wasn’t done.

I moved to FSU. 

I loved my coaches and teammates.

My coaches and teammates left.

Maybe track wasn’t for me after all. 

It felt like the entire world was against me.

But I wouldn’t be able to face the woman in the mirror if I stopped before trying to reach my goals.

So, I transferred again, finding my fourth school.

I hadn’t given myself a chance to succeed yet.

I connected well with my new team, and thankfully, it all worked out.

I stayed.

I trained.

I finally started listening to God.

I refused to give up.

And now, I’m a proud student-athlete here at Memphis.

I'm the best athlete I've ever been. And I'm the best person I've ever been.

The recruiting process going to Memphis was the first time I truly prayed and sought guidance for my next step.

I’ve realized I’m stronger not in spite of but because of each obstacle I faced.

I’m sharing my story so you learn to trust your goals are worth fighting for, too.

You are worth fighting for.

A New Purpose

As I experienced the adversity of constantly needing to switch schools, I found a new career goal: I want to become a motivational speaker.

I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and my struggles gave me a story I can share to help others. 

When I was in high school, I watched a ton of motivational videos and listened to a lot of inspiring speakers. They helped me get through some tough times.

Little did I know how many more tough times would lay ahead. 

I hope to have that same influence on other young women and athletes.

If anyone can say it, it’s me. 

It’s okay if your first, second and sometimes even third choice don’t work out.

It’s okay to fail. It’s all part of the journey to success.

As a speaker, I want to be able to connect with younger women and athletes and let them know that they’re not alone. I want to be someone that they can look up to and confide in when they need guidance or inspiration.

As far as building a career, I’m still figuring everything out. 

I reach out to schools myself and try to go and speak at them.

So far, it's been an awesome experience.

Sure, it's tough, and it's a lot of emails and a lot of reaching out and a lot of work to do on my part, but it's definitely worth it once I get to touch at least one athlete out there.

I’ve had a lot of people doubt me along the way, but I’ve learned to use that doubt as motivation to prove them wrong.

The only voice that matters at the end of each day of training or waiting is your own.

Do you trust yourself?