As one of the leading 7s player on the world circuit in recent years, Vanesha McGee blogs about the end of her journey as a USA player.
In January 2012 I was lucky enough to be one of the first 7s players contracted to play rugby full-time at the Olympic Training Centre in California.
It was totally surreal and incredibly exciting - an idea that many rugby players dreamed of, but didn't believe would ever be a reality. I was fortunate enough to train and play with the top female rugby players in the country over the next two years. I travelled to five countries, some more than once, played in over 50 international matches and captained the team to a 3rd place finish at the 2013 World Cup. I've had quite an incredible experience! And I'm happy for every day of it (the good and the...not so good).
I didn't take my place as a professional athlete for granted and knew that it would eventually come to an end. That time has come and the end is here. I was told in November that my contract would not be renewed.
Of course it was an emotional blow, but emotions come in all shapes and sizes and I felt fairly certain that I was ready to take on the emotions that came with this life altering change.
Overall, I'm feeling really grateful for the gift of the last two years.
Before I moved to Chula Vista I was contemplating the end of my rugby career. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to add more years, experiences and memories to my journey. I was able to push myself and grow in ways I thought were not for me.
There were certainly bad days, trying moments, and bitter pills to swallow, but today I am a better person, rugby player, friend and teammate than I was when I began.
Although it came to and end before I would have liked it to, I am forever thankful for those who helped me begin this adventure and those who continued to support me along the way. Without the support of everyone in my life I would not have such a great tale to tell---all of the hugs, letters, tweets, emails, facebook likes and comments, cards, packages, visits, skype sessions, pushes to keep going, texts, phone calls, gift cards, pep talks, shoulders to cry on, forever smiles, love and unwavering kindness. THANK YOU!
With a smile on my face I remember the greatness that came with being a part of Team USA.