Champions' TriBUne: Living a Dream
Champions’ TriBUne is a special feature through Baylor Athletics that gives you the student-athlete’s perspective and the chance for them to share their own story. The following is a brief excerpt from the feature by Lauren Harrison, a fifth-year senior on the Baylor volleyball team. After a devastating knee injury at the end of her senior year in high school, Harrison worked tirelessly to rehab and return to the game she missed so much. Her journey took her first to UNC and then to Baylor. The community established as a part of Baylor’s volleyball program has changed her life and her future. She’s worked her way back to earning All-America status as a Baylor Bear.
When the fall rolled around, I was so excited to play in my first collegiate game. I had waited over a year to compete. As the season went on though, something deep down told me it was time to move on from UNC. After the season ended, I decided to take a leap of faith and enter the transfer portal.
That night, Baylor sent me an email and wanted to set up a phone call for the next day. I talked to them on a Tuesday, and three days later I was in Waco on my official visit.
When I arrived, the staff and players welcomed me and my parents with open arms. This felt like home. Baylor is the perfect mix of high-level volleyball and great academics, which were both really important to me as I looked for a new school. Since Baylor was my first visit after entering the transfer portal, I had a few other visits planned. But, as I headed back to the airport, I canceled the rest of my visits before calling coach Ryan McGuyre and letting him know that I wanted to accept his offer.
It was January 2020, and my parents were helping me move into my Baylor apartment. I was so excited to have found a new school. Surprisingly, no tears were running down my face as my parents left this time. All I felt in that moment was excitement. I had a new school and new teammates and the opportunity to make new friends.
In the fall, we started our season with limited fans and a bunch of regulations to protect us from COVID-19. It was not how I expected my first season at Baylor to start, but I was just excited to be out there playing.
The 2021-22 season was unique. At the beginning of the season, there was a time when I felt as if I was not playing like myself. The Lauren filled with confidence and joy from the previous season was nowhere to be found. I felt so much doubt and timidness on the court. After a few weeks of feeling that way, I came to my senses and realized this is not who I am. I am not the player who just hopes I can score a point. I am a player who plays with confidence, swagger and joy. From that point on, I felt like I was finally playing like myself again.
Going into this season, my role will look slightly different. As one of the three seniors on the team, it will be my job to lead vocally and by example.
As I look back on my college career, all I can do is be reminded of the younger me who started playing volleyball out of pure love and excitement for the game. I dreamed of playing college volleyball at the highest level, and that dream is my reality. Although I have faced some trials in turning that dream into reality, I would not be the person I am today without making it through those tough times. I am forever grateful to my parents and the people who have made an impact on both my life and volleyball career. Every day, I thank God for giving me the talent and opportunities to compete in this sport. For that, I play for His glory.