Growing up, many children are exposed to the world of sports, and freshman Blair Bayliss is no different. From skiing in the Colorado mountains to leaping across the dance stage, Bayliss has always been involved in sports and physical exercise. 

“When I was younger, I didn’t really take things as seriously,” Bayliss said. “But now I feel like sports are just a getaway from everything because that’s all you’re focused on at the moment.”

Because of Bayliss’ love for exercise, she picked up many sports and did competitive dance when she was around eight or nine years old. From the beginning, Bayliss knew what a demanding sport was and the rigorous practice that comes along with it, yet she continued with the sport because of her initial passion for it. Bayliss’ passion for dance and other sports soon escalated and quickly after, she was committed to multiple sports at a young age along with maintaining her school schedule. With juggling numerous sports, it was no shock to Bayliss when her mental health began to decline. 

“[Doing multiple sports at once] gave me less time to do homework which made me stressed,” Bayliss said. “And just dance in general was so stressful because they expect so much from you like memorization and [going to competitions]. It was a lot.”

With her mental health being a big concern, Bayliss quit dance to further pursue other sports and to allow more time for herself.

“Dance was really the main thing that was affecting my mental health,” Bayliss said. “It was so draining. I really liked dancing itself, [but] everything went wild. It’s a competition, not even during the [real] competition, [but] with your own studio, and that’s not how it should be. I’m glad that I quit [and] I’m a lot happier.” 

Despite Bayliss quitting a once beloved sport, she continued to play a different sport, volleyball and found an even bigger love for it. 

“I really like volleyball,” Bayliss said. “It pushes me to be better and get stronger.”

Having sports in Bayliss’ life has helped her stay motivated and focused while adjusting to both volleyball and her high school life.

“I love volleyball and I want to continue playing and it’s more fun when you’re good at it,” Bayliss said. “When you don’t do well in a game it just motivates you to do better next time.” 

With the strenuous program that volleyball requires, Bayliss had to start going to the weight room to lift. While Bayliss was nervous about this at first, she ended up loving it and how it encourages her to have more confidence in herself.

“I’ve definitely gotten more open [with lifting],” Bayliss said.  “Last year I feel like I never would have gone [to the weight room] and lifted weights by myself, but now I feel so much better. I feel like this year it would have been the opposite but I’m definitely starting to care less about what people think and that is what I have aspired to do my whole life.”

Not only do volleyball and weightlifting help Bayliss become more confident, but they have also helped her become more open and honest with her thoughts and feelings. 

“I feel like last year I went along with what other people said and I would agree with them,” Bayliss said. “I feel like I would believe it and I would say something that wasn’t true about myself, and I would kind of live that way. [Now that I am working more on myself, I can say that] I’m happy about [my improvement] and I wish I had started earlier.” 

While Bayliss has recognized the change within herself, her teammates have also.

“Blair is definitely one to be compassionate and she’s always been a good teammate. She lifts you up and she always has your back,” freshman Claire Smith said. “I admire her constant happiness and I think that ever since she has played volleyball, she’s definitely more confident [in herself].”

With the help of volleyball and her friends, Bayliss has proven to herself that she can come back stronger than ever and stay true to herself. 

“I feel like the people this year have shown me it’s okay to not be who people want you to be,” Bayliss said. “Last year I was doing [a specific drill] and I had never done it before. It was my first time doing summer workouts and I couldn’t do it. I finally got the hang of it [with the help of one of my teammates] and I feel like it was honestly just [my teammate] that made me feel more motivated to do better.”