The fourth edition features the story of volleyball redshirt junior Sabrina Leuer and how she found the perfect complement between agriculture and athletics.
Growing up, my life was split between the classroom, the court, and the field. As a child, every time I would come home from the farm I was covered in dirt with the biggest grin on my face. In middle school, I would get dropped off early so my father could get to work early. I was eager to go to school to learn and hang out with my friends. After the school day was over, I could be found waiting on the curb eager for my father to arrive so I could go to the farm. I fell in love with farming and the outdoors during this time in my life and my love has only grown since. I started to play volleyball in middle school, but never felt that being a farm kid and an athlete was unusual until high school.
Wayzata High School was an interesting place for me. My cousin and I were the only farm kids in the entire school of 4,000 students. My involvement in athletics and classes was the only real connection I had with kids at school. For the first time in my life, I felt a true separation between my life on the farm and sports. Towards the end of high school, I felt the pressure from peers and teachers to specialize in one area of study for college. I knew that both farming and athletics were something that I wanted to pursue in college. After attending Wayzata, I wanted to go to a school that was both competitive in sports and had a great agricultural program.
Minnesota Crookston was the ideal choice. I came to UMC and decided to major in both Horticulture -Environmental Landscaping and Agronomy - Crop Production. I was very excited to further my knowledge in Agriculture, but what was even better was that two aspects of my life, farming and athletics finally came together in one place. The end of my sophomore year was a tough year. I found out that I would have to get knee surgery; this put a delay on my plan. I redshirted my junior year volleyball season. During my redshirt year I found a deeper passion and respect for the game of volleyball. I would not trade the insight and perspective that I gained in my injury year for the world. This is what led me to picking up a Sport and Recreation minor. I had also been debating adding an Ag Business minor for about a year. I decided to add this minor, as well. My minor in Ag Business would advance my knowledge on the business side of agriculture and my SRM minor would allow me to further my knowledge in athletics.
If competitiveness and hardworking were genes, I would have inherited them from my family. I never thought that all the days I spent working for my dad, whether it was on the crop farm, landscaping or bottling syrup, would relate to my athletic career and my desire to further my academic career. Most people do not see any correlation between farming and athletics, but who can blame them, it is not an easy correlation to see. For me the correlations are endless. Strength, hard work, courage and a strong will to succeed are just a few. Both agriculture and athletics are mentally and physically demanding. Each one has prepared me well for the other.
Without agriculture and athletics combined, I would not be the same hardworking woman that I am today. My advice to anyone reading this is if you are truly passionate about anything, pursue it because in the end, all your struggles will be worth it. Be a part of something because you want to not because you have to. I am proud to say that I am an Ag Athlete.