Post image for Megan Hill, USA Bobsled

Megan Hill, USA Bobsled

by carmine on October 21, 2013



 

 

Here is my story:

I grew up in Woodstock, GA and started doing gymnastics at age 2.  I played in other sports as a kid too like basketball and soccer, but gymnastics was my true passion.  It was all I ever wanted to do and I let it become who I was. When I was little I would come home from practice and sleep in my leotard and grips. There was one point when I told everybody that my life plan was to do gymnastics as long as I could, and then when I got too old to do it I was going to coach gymnastics, and then when I got too old to coach I was going to judge gymnastics.   I loved that sport with all I had. 

Around middle school I realized that going to the Olympics for gymnastics was not going to happen as I simply did not have the talent at the time so I set my eyes on Collegiate Gymnastics… preferably in the SEC. So through out high school, I put my full focus on achieving that goal.  By my senior year I had some scholarship offers from small schools around the nation, but I wanted to compete on the largest stage in collegiate gymnastics so I took up an offer to walk-on to the Auburn University Gymnastics Team. By this time in my life, gymnastics was my identity. To myself and everybody around me, I was Megan the Gymnast. 

When I got to college I was totally living my dream. I thought I was a little hot shot on campus because I was on the gymnastics team and I was hanging out and going to parties with all the athletes. I got to do gymnastics in the state-of-the-art gym and I got to train and compete with some of the best colleigate gymnasts in the nation. I got all sorts of free Under Armour gear and I was really living it up!! I was doing exactly what I had dreamed of. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my dream and the life I was living was not as fulfilling as I had thought it would be. There was something missing.

My teammate at the time and my very best friend, AJ Mills, invited me to go to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meeting with her one night. To be quite honest, my main motivation for going was that there were going to be free Chik-Fil-A sandwiches and football players there. I started going with her week after week and it was during those meetings where I learned about who God was and what a relationship with Him looked like.  As a child, my family had gone to church on Christmas Eve and on Easter but that was all I knew about God.  Now I was learning more about Him every week and craving a relationship with Him.  Everybody there seemed to have a purpose and a peace about them and I wanted that.

Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year after a decent season where I was really starting to improve in the gym, my coaches called me up to their office for an end-of-the-year evaluation meeting.  In that meeting they cut me from the team. I was told that I did not have what the coaches were looking for – they thought I had reached my potential, my grades weren’t good enough, and that I could not control my weight.  All I remember after that was burying my face with my hands and crying hysterically.  I was heartbroken and devastated. I was living my dream and then just like that it was gone. I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I didn’t know what to do with my life as gymnastics was all I ever knew. 

It was at that point when I turned my life over to God. I realized that even when everything that I loved was stripped from me (okay that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt at the time!), He was still there loving me and always would be there. I then did some soul searching and realized that my athleticism was a God-given gift, and I wanted to use it while I was still young to glorify Him.  That has lead to a crazy road paralleled to my walk with Christ filled with some ups and downs and bigger opportunities than I could have ever imagined.

A friend on the Track & Field team suggest I try pole vaulting, so I did. My story about polevaulting is a whole other story in itself of courage and perserverance, but in a nutshell, here is how it went: The Auburn Track & Field coaches told me I needed to clear 11′ to be on the team.  So, I spent my junior year learning how to polevault at the local highschool and at Earl Bell’s pole vault camps in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I cleared 11′ in just a few short months and then competed as “unattched” in collegiate meets during the spring. I even competed in a home meet at Auburn as “unattached” and beat one of the girls on the Auburn team. By my senior year the Auburn track and field coaches welcomed me to the team. To God be the glory because it was all Him working through me.

I spent my senior year pole-vaulting and then after that season I transitioned into another new event.  I had a year of NCAA eligibility left so during my first year of graduate school I competed in the Hammer throw.  Those years after my gymnastics career were critical in that I was continuing to grow in my walk with Christ and by doing so I was growing as an athlete. God had blessed me with gifts learned from each sport and event that set me up perfectly for my next endeavor.  I developed a strong mental tenacity from gymnastics and I learned the physical skills of proper running technique and weightlifting for strength and power to set me up perfectly for…… Bobsledding! Wow, God really blew my mind with this one! 

The summer after I finished up my collegiate eligibility I went to a “Combine” for the US Bobsled Team!  I had absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself into, but again, I felt I had an athletic gift from God and wanted to use it to glorify Him. After the combine I was invited to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY for a “rookie camp”.  Within the next few months I found myself as an alternate brakeman (the one who pushes the sled and then jumps in for the ride) on the US National Bobsled Team traveling all over Europe on the World Cup circuit.  Crazy!! 

At the end of my first season in bobsled, I went to a “driving school” where I learned how to pilot a sled down the track.  For the next two seasons I raced as a bobsled pilot and even got to race in two World Cups. I am now headed into my fourth season in the sport and my third season as a pilot.  There is absolutely no way I would be able to do this sport with out Him.  He is the one who gives me the courage, strength, and confidence to compete in this absolutely insane sport. That is not me out there.. it is Him working through me! 

Every day continues to be a battle with sin as temptations are all around me.  I am so thankful though for God’s grace and that He is my Lord and Savior. Whenever I stray away from Him and towards worldly idols, He always pulls me back and for that I am thankful and blessed beyond measure. I am no longer defined by what sport I am doing but I am defined by Christ.  I am fulfilled by purpose now in knowing that wherever God leads me and whether its in sports or not, that my purpose is to let His light shine through me. I am out there competing to win – Yes, I am out there to win gold to glorify Him, but what I am really out there for is to win souls over to Him. 

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
-1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 

Thanks for reading my testimony. I hope it finds you blessed! 

Megan

Previous post:

Next post: