Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs Five-year-old Tara King would be mighty proud of current Tara King.
King, a three-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection at Mesa State College, 2009 Setter of the Year and 2006 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, is preparing to head overseas to try to impress foreign scouts and coaches.
If she does that, King could end up with a professional contract to play volleyball.
“It’s one of those things where a little kid wants to be a firefighter or a pro basketball player,” King said. “When you’re a little kid, when you grow up you want to be those things. It was a little silly dream I’d hoped for. It still doesn’t seem real.”
But it’s as real as it gets for King.
She is scheduled to leave Jan. 6 for the Czech Republic with a company called Bring It Promotions. Along with 29 other players from the United States, King will travel to Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Italy to play in front of foreign coaches and scouts.
For two weeks, she’ll have the opportunity to do what she always has dreamed of. King, who at one point in her recruitment was told by a coach that she had no idea why anyone would recruit her as a setter, said now that she has the opportunity to make a living playing a sport she loves, she can’t really fathom it.
“At first, honestly, I was terrified. I was terrified to go over there,” she said. “I’m leaving everything I have behind. I’m really scared to fail. But that’s what makes it great. It’s a risk. It’s something I want to do at the same time. The fear kind of left, and I feel like a little kid.”
King’s career path is one athletes should look at. Although she admits she’d love to go back and see if she could have pursued more Division I opportunities, she is not upset with her decision to head to Division II Mesa State.
King said people get too caught up in playing Division I or Division II sports. She said if the drive is there, things will happen.
King still has the passion to play volleyball and said she can’t believe she is getting the opportunity to play professionally.
She will spend two weeks overseas before returning stateside Jan. 19. From there, she will weigh the offers and potentially start playing during the professional August and September season.
“This has been my dream, and I can’t believe I’m talking about it,” King said. “It just seems really surreal.”
Not necessarily surreal, but rather a blueprint of what happened when King dreamed big.
She didn’t let a coach telling her she couldn’t be a setter stop her. She didn’t let playing at a Division II school inhibit her.
More than anything else, she never let 5-year-old Tara King’s dream die.