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Episode #28

Walking On A Dream

with JaNay Honest

23 Nov, 2020

JaNay Honest, Sports Broadcaster and Former gymnast at UCLA, shares her time as a walk-on at UCLA and highlights the powerful message that no dream is unattainable.

Transcript

JaNay Honest

Stef

Welcome to the Voice In Sport podcast. I'm your host, Steph Strack, the founder of Voice In Sport. As an athlete, professional, and mom, I have spent the last 20 years advocating for women and innovating across the sports industry. Now I want to bring more visibility to female athletes and elevate their voice at Voice In Sport.

We share untold stories from female athletes to inspire us all, to keep playing and change more than just the game.

  Today, our guest is Janae honest, a sports broadcaster and former walk-on gymnast from the powerhouse, UCLA. Janae is a 2018 NCAA gymnast champion and a 2016 PAC 12 uneven bars co champion. And ever since she was little Janae dreamed one day of competing for the Bruins. And in this episode, she shares her story of walking onto her dream school.

Even after being told, she would never be good enough to compete with such elite athletes. She proved the critics wrong, and Janae shows us how to deal with criticism while reminding us to find joy in our sports and believe in ourselves, no matter what. In today's episode, we dive into the world of walking onto college sports teams.

As we discuss the three different types of walk-ons Janine shares with us, how walking on at UCLA has helped her find her voice Jenny's story is truly inspiring. And it's a must listen for any female athlete who needs a little extra push to pursue their wildest dreams.  Janae. Welcome to the voice and sport podcast. We are so excited to have you here with us today.

JaNay  

Thank you. I'm excited to be here and honored to be the first gymnasts. This is really cool.  (Janay Laughter) 

Stef

 I always wanted to be a gymnast. I did it when I was really young and I'm always just astonished with the power and strength of gymnasts. So it's amazing what you do.

JaNay

 Thank you. I've noticed that a lot of people have done it when they're younger and looking back, I don't even know how I did the sport. So I shocked myself and surprised myself looking back.  (Jaynay Laughter) 

Stef

So, sports did you play when you were growing up?

JaNay

 Honestly, gymnastics was basically my life. I did dance at the same time, so I would say I did that as well. And I was on the dance team in high school. But basically I feel like when you're a gymnast, it's really hard to do other things because I would practice from four to eight. So it'd be school from eight to three practice from four to eight.

I barely had time to go to school dances, go to football games, let alone try any extracurricular activities.  (Jaynay Laughter) So, I wish I went into other sports to be versatile. I think the only time I did have experience with any other sports was during PE. So I enjoyed playing soccer and  running track.

So I think  if I wasn't a gymnast, I would be in those two sports.   

Stef

 That's amazing. Well today we're going to have this amazing conversation about the power of walking on to college sports. And I don't know if you know the stat, but 46% of division one athletes are walk-ons

JaNay: Wow. I had no idea actually. I knew it would be kind of higher than you expect, but that's basically half,  that's incredible. And I'm part of that statistic. 

 Stef

 Well, we're so excited to talk to you cause it is more common than people think. I think that the stories are always told about these girls getting recruited and trying to pick which school and, making it there. But really almost half of the most elite athletes are walking on.

So most people might not know , there's actually three different types of walk-ons. There's preferred walk-ons, recruited walk-ons, and walk ons non recruited. So Janae, which one were you at uCLA?

JaNay

Looking back and thinking back on emails, when I was going through the recruiting process, I'm pretty sure I was a preferred walk-on.  Because I went through the recruiting process,  and what the coaches would always tell us is that, with gymnastics, we come in all at the same level. They just don't have enough scholarships for everybody.

So I feel like, well, at least at UCLA in gymnastics, you're going to be a preferred walk on. Cause you still have to go through the recruiting process and you gotta, see if you connect with the team and seeing, are you going to be a good fit?

Because it's not a big team, like football.  And then we also have a bigger chance of competing because you know, we all have the same skill level too, so it's different. I know gymnastics is different, especially when  your  a walk on. To me, I feel that walk ons feel you don't hold as much value because of your scholarship status or lack of thereof. And what helped me, especially with the coaches told me, you know, when you walk into the gym your scholarship status does not matter. We are all on the same level playing field. If you show up and you prove that you can compete in line up, then we are going to put you in. You aren't going to be considered the second or be put to the side because you don't have a scholarship.

 Stef

 Let's talk about your journey though, to getting to UCLA. Because I think what's really unique about your story is that you had this dream of going to UCLA from a very young age.

So take all the way back to like that moment, why UCLA? And then let's talk about how you got there.

JaNay

 So I didn't grow up at a super young age watching gymnastics. I started watching gymnastics on TV probably after the age of six, when I knew about the sport. Cause I didn't know about it prior. And once I started watching college gymnastics, Georgia at the time was winning all the national championships and I loved their routines, but UCLA.

There is something about UCLA. I was like, wow, love the Leo's. The routines were always unique, especially with floor routines and the way they performed. And like I mentioned, I also do dance. So that really stuck out to me too. So once I got up to a level about level eight, I was 12 years old.

And you know, I was finally old enough to do the overnight camps and stay overnight. And I decided to do a UCLA one. So I had a couple teammates at my club who were going with me, but they all dropped out. I think it was just three of us, so it was like, okay, do you also want to not go or do you want to go by yourself?

And I said, you know what? I'm already locked in. I might as well just go by myself, make new friends and literally walking onto the campus. It's so beautiful. I love that Southern California and interacting with the coaches and interacting with the team at that time. And seeing how they do team building exercises, the food on the campus is just incredible too.

I feel anytime I was talking to people that have also done college gymnastics, I felt we had the most dining halls and just the most food options and I love to eat. So that also really sold me as well. And it was right then and there, I decided this is where I'm meant to be. This is where I want to go.

It's still in California. I don't really want to move that far away from home, but far enough to where I can get away from my parents a little bit. So I think then it was about a four day camp. So I went back home and, I was telling my parents about it. I was like, this is the best time ever.

I learned so many skills. I learned more about myself and how I can be more productive and what helps me be confident while doing skills or learning skills. And I went into my club gym the next day  and I went to tell my coaches, and goes, how was camp? And I said, I loved it. UCLA is the school I want to go to.

I have made that decision and their response wasn't what I expected. And I was very shocked to hear this as a 12 year old. So, they said, "Oh, you probably, won't be able to compete at UCLA". They recruit elite Olympians, you know, but I'm glad you had fun. And I heard that and I thought,  I didn't think this was such an unattainable goal for me.

And I know I'm still young, but I kind of just brushed that off, but I remember being very taken aback by that immediate response. It wasn't like, "Oh my goodness, I'm glad you had fun". You know, UCLA is a top notch school. So we got to work really hard if you want to attain that goal. Their response was the complete opposite.

So, basically up into that point, I made UCLA my goal. I heard that same message for the next six years until I left. Even after I committed as a walk on, they were like, okay well you know, you're not signed into a scholarship, so you should still look at other schools just in case.

And I had visited other schools which I think is also very important. And I tell alot of girls if you're looking at schools, make sure to visit the campus because that's going to be your home for the next four years. You want to make sure you like living there. You want to make sure that you love where you're going to be for the next four or five years.

And I visited other schools. I wasn't super tunnel vision. I wasn't super like, I only want to do UCLA. Cause I feel like you should always keep your options open and I did that. I visited the schools that were offering me full scholarships and I didn't feel it was a good fit. They were very nice, but  there was something in my spirit that was pulling me towards UCLA and that's what I went with. And so that was my process of what kind of got me into looking at UCLA and  my process of being recruited . And  every competition I would update them weekly and really just bother them probably.

 Just like here, here's my update. Here's my summer update. I just really wanted them to know how dedicated I was.

  Stef

 So, how did that make you feel when you heard from your coaches at such a young age, that when you express to them your desire to go to this school, that that was their response. How did that affect you and your confidence?

JaNay

 It was weird. I just remember being so confused looking back now, I feel that coaches should always inspire and motivate and that wasn't an inspiring or motivating response. It was very just  belittling in a way cause it seemed like they had already taken that option out for me or they  already had other plans, you know, let's go to something more attainable for you.  And again, I was young, I wasn't okay level 10 yet. I had a lot of skills to learn still and you never know. And I remember I spoke to them, a couple years ago.

And they said, well you got to look at the timeline, you know, you were 12 years old at the time and you had a lot to learn. And it's like, but yeah, that's the thing. So why did you say something like that to me when I still have so much to learn? You never know, the path I was going to go  but I just remember being so shocked. And I think because I was younger, it helped because I didn't take it too seriously. I feel like I took it with a grain of salt. 

 Stef

There's not just one traditional path,  so a preferred walk on this is the highest status as a walk on.

You're guaranteed a spot on the team and are going to receive all the support of normal scholarship athletes.

JaNay

 Yes, that was most definitely me.

Stef

 That means though your school might not be paid for, but  you're going to get all of the resources you need and a spot. 

 JaNay

 Exactly, I had to pay for my schooling. But I got all the academic support when it came to tutors, the gear. When it came to traveling, I was able to travel and have all these things done for me and provided for me, which was really, really nice. Because when you're a student athlete, that is a full time job. And then you have school.

Stef

 Absolutely. And then the other two, I just want to make sure I share those too. Cause it's interesting. So a walk on that's recruited, if you aren't receiving preferred status that simply means your position on the team isn't guaranteed. So you may be required to try out once on campus or maybe the coach is expecting you to red shirt your first year. So that's another type of walk on, walk on recruited, and then the third type is walk on, un recruiting on their own, and they find a way on to the team through an open tryout. So there's three different ways. There's lots of ways to make it to teams, which I think is really inspiring for us all to know there's lots of different paths.

JaNay

 Yeah, absolutely. And I'm still shocked about that statistic you gave me of the percentage of walk-on. That is absolutely insane, but it's so inspiring at the same time.

Stef

 Absolutely. So tell us about your experience as a walk on, tell us how you felt during your time and what challenges you had to overcome.

JaNay

 A lot of the challenges I had to overcome were within me. Just me overthinking my choice of you know, choosing to be a walk on at my dream school then passing up other scholarship opportunities. But my experience as a walk on, I always felt included, I even found my voice.

 And just overall, I felt that I found my confidence as a walk on. They emphasize so much at UCLA that we're not defined by our scholarship status and you know, nor are we defined by our mistakes. And so I think my struggles were, as I mentioned, just more internal. Cause I kept second guessing my decision to walk onto UCLA and pay for my education while I watch my teammates go pick up their books that are provided for them.

And I had to go buy mine and books are very, very expensive in college. So I remember thinking to myself,  why did I put my parents through this. They're helping me pay for college and it is just so expensive. Why didn't I settle? Why didn't I just go to a not so prestigious college and get my education paid for because that was just easier.

 And I remember calling my dad just crying, like why am I here? It's just so expensive. And, I was just questioning everything. And that was mainly yeah, all through my freshman year. But in the gym I gave it my 100% every day and really just trusted that I was on the path that I was meant to take.

And really it wasn't until my sophomore year when I really found my stride, I found my confidence. I knew I was meant to be on the team and I was an essential teammate. I was valued, I was loved, I was a leader by example.

 I may have found my voice a little bit later, but I really just showed my leadership through my work ethic. Which I think was really important for my other teammates at the time to see that someone who is not on scholarship works so hard because I had to work extra hard to stay on the team. And that's kind of how I saw it, I could never really get comfortable or settle. I had to keep pushing and getting better to make sure that I was doing my best for the team.  

Stef

Over six years you had feedback from some of your coaches that you weren't good enough to get to UCLA. Then you get to UCLA and you're struggling in your first year to find that confidence and to find your voice.

What advice would you have to other girls that might be in that same situation today? And they are deciding to go to the school they want to go to. What advice do you have for those girls mentally to get through that? 

 JaNay

 I'm going to say what one of our strength coaches told us because we had this conversation at nationals my senior year. 

And he told us to always know and remember as you are going through life, the choices that you make are the choices you were meant to make. Never compare it or yourself to others and other people in their journeys because you are on your own unique journey.

It doesn't mean that your journey is going to be a breeze or a walk in the park. It's going to be hard, but know and trust that you made the right decision. And run with it and do the best to your abilities to execute your plan, your dream, whatever aspirations that you have. Because the second you start second guessing yourself, like I was my freshman year. It doesn't help you in the gym, outside the gym. 

It may affect you in school life. It'll just affect you overall because you're not trusting the choices that you've made in your life so far. So that's the advice I would give to girls because a light bulb went off in my head when he told us that. And it was just amazing because it's so true.

And I feel like today, especially with social media, we're constantly comparing ourselves to others but comparing up and just wondering like, Oh, how come I'm not there yet? Or how come I don't have these opportunities that this person has, or how come my journey seems a little bit harder? Cause you just never know what people are going through behind the scenes, but really just focus on you and trust that you are on the right path of the life that you were meant to lead.

Stef

So you sound so wise now that you have finished college. But I am assuming at some point during your freshman and your sophomore year, or even just your four years that you weren't quite there how you're describing it now. It was a big choice that you made not to take the money from one school and go to another school.

How do you guide other girls that are maybe in that decision right now? What should they think about when making that choice to go walk on to a school. Or to take a scholarship where they know they can get their education paid for.

 JaNay

 It's a very hard decision because college is the next step of your life.  Yes, you're going to school. Yes, you're going to be doing your sport. But honestly, it's your time to become your own person and become independent.  So just honestly, you really have to think about what you want and what is going to be the best decision for you. Really look into your heart and figure out what is leading you to like which school? Look at the pros and cons, if there are any pros and cons and just really think about what's more important to me. 

Do I want to go to the school that's really good in education and it's going to be best for the career that I'm going to have after my sport. Because for Gymnastics specifically, we don't have professional gymnastics. So by the time we're, 22, we're retired and we're pursuing our own careers. So that's another reason why I chose UCLA for broadcasting and it's in LA and they have a great communications program and the networking is going to be great over here. So you really just gotta think about all the logistics behind the scenes besides just your sport.

Because you know, once an athlete, always an athlete. But you have to think about after your sport and what's going to help you really propel yourself in life. Which school is going to be the best for that.

Stef

 Yeah, it's hard to think that way. I think when you're in high school and  you're focused on getting to that next level. But it's a great perspective to reflect back on now and think through, because you have your whole life ahead of you and not all sports have those professional leagues.  (Janay Agreeing) 

So looking back on it, you just graduated and yet you were just in the thick of it. So tell us a little bit more about the experience you had as a walk-on continued. Did you ever transition to a full ride scholarship athlete in your four year time?

And if so, tell us what that moment meant to you. 

JaNay

 So my goal, after I walked on freshman to junior year, basically I was like, I really want to earn a scholarship. It was very interesting because I had this dream of earning a scholarship because I was a walk on. And that was you know, my main goal, freshman, sophomore, junior year. And, I was thinking, you know, things are ever changing.

Girls can get injured,  incoming, athletes, just, anything can happen basically. And you just really never know. And so, freshman year happened, you know, I competed all season and I did really well. And it didn't happen. I was like, okay.

Maybe sophomore year, sophomore year was probably one of the years where I competed the most. I was on three events. I was on vault bars and floor. I competed again all season. I was hitting some career highs, and getting nine nine fives, and really scoring really well.

And again, just didn't happen. And by junior year, we had already gotten a couple Olympians from the 2016 team. And my knee was starting to bother me really bad. And by then I was becoming a bar specialist because they needed to save my knee for my bar dismounts rather than trying to put me on the vault and floor.

So then I started to lose my confidence a little bit. Cause then I started feeling, I'm not contributing as much to the team anymore. I'm not competing in as many events as I was getting older, I feel old. The arthritis is getting to me.

And by the end of junior season, I felt like, you know what? I don't think the scholarship is going to happen. I am supposed to continue this walk on legacy and show young girls out there that they can walk onto their dream school and contribute to the team. And not feel like, you know, they're not worthy of being on a team of the caliber that they want to be on and that they can be successful while being a walk on.

And so come senior season in the fall. The head coach, she holds me and my friend Sonya back cause we're both walk ons, And so we stay after practice and she records us. And she said, you know, I have two scholarships for you guys for your last year.

And it was just, you know those moments where the moment you kind of not give up on something, but you kind of move past this goal. Cause you're like, you know what? You come to terms that it's not going to happen. And you kind of restructure what your goals are and then what you've wanted for so long and so much, it finally happens when you kind of brush it to the side and you're like, you know what, it's not going to happen.

Let me move on. And it was just, kind of like things happen when you don't expect it. Cause that's how I felt. And I immediately started crying. I was hugging Sonia. Because  it finally felt like, wow, something I've worked so hard for. And I already feel like I've been a part of this team.

I've meant to be here. And just something that I've worked so hard for  had finally paid off, but to me it had already paid off. Because I had already competed at my end dream school for three years already. You know, I was getting ready to be a senior and to earn a scholarship was just the icing on the cake and really set me up for a great senior season.

Stef

 I can't imagine that moment must have been so amazing. And it's often that  athletes find their biggest success when they're sort of at their breaking point. And so I know you weren't at your breaking point because you were still loving what you were doing. But I think that's an incredible story and it will give so much hope to girls out there that might just decide to go to their school of their choice. Because they know it's going to have as long term benefit for them.

It's inspiring to hear that. So how many other girls on the team were in a similar situation as to you? How many girls actually walked on?

JaNay

 Quite a lot, actually. Fun fact that UCLA, walk on earned the first perfect 10 at UCLA. It wasn't a scholarship athlete. which I thought was really, really cool. So kind of like the statistic you gave me . You just never expect something like that. I would say our team was bigger, so almost half.

Because UCLA was more of a bigger thing team,  they have 12 scholarships for gymnastics and other schools usually have 15 to 16 girls. We had about 24, so we had quite a bit of walk-ons, which just added depth to the team, which was helpful.

When girls are competing weekend in weekend, out on all four events, you know, they need a break on their bodies and that's when the walk-ons can come in and contribute the same scores as the scholarship athletes. So that's what was helpful. And I think that's what helped, especially when injuries came in.

I would say  about three to four walk ons per class about. But it just depended every class comes in differently, but we had a bigger team, definitely.

Stef

 So that's a lot of the girls on the team. So how do you stay in the right mindset as a walk on, just to make sure that you're saying confident and knowing that you're contributing to the team, but you might not be the top athlete with the top amount of money at the school. What's the mind that you should have going in, especially if you might be in that scenario for, three of your four years? 

 JaNay

 I would say never get comfortable, never settle. Because I feel that I'll just make an example of  when you have earned a scholarship and you get to the school and you feel like you can kind of just maybe relax a little bit and kind of have a little bit more fun you're in college. But I feel like to me, what helped me as a walk on athlete is just always  get 1% better every day.

Because you're spot on a team in general. It's just not guaranteed. That's why you need to work really hard in class because  you're a student before an athlete and you need to have a certain grade point average to actually compete. And then also, you want the team to be successful. Which means you need to put in your 100% to help the team get to where the team wants to be collectively by the end of the year for nationals or whatever the goal may be.

And if you aren't putting in that energy. And if you aren't 100% committed, then that's just kind of when you start to get comfortable .And say, well, you know I'm here, like I walked on, I'm just on the team and I'm going to do the bare minimum. I feel like you should never have that mindset.

You should always figure out how you can be your best for the team, how you can constantly better yourself. 

Stef

 What advice do you have for girls that might be being told the same exact thing right now today. They're 12 years old and they're coming back from a camp. What advice would you give them?

JaNay

 Really lean on your support system, cause that's what I did my parents were my major support system at the time and focus on the positives. There's always going to be negatives in some way, shape, or form, and it's not going to help at all. If you focus on the negative things that people tell you, even if it is your coaches, the people that are helping you get you towards that goal and that's what I would say. Definitely, cause that's what helped me. You really just have to build that barrier, especially when you work with someone like that every day.

And you have to focus on your own personal goal and what you want in your heart rather than what somebody else wants for you. 

Stef

 I just want to kind of go a little deeper about the feedback that you got along the way, because I think it's very common and  having feedback so early on in your career can really make or break it. And coaches are supposed to be inspiring, but they're also supposed to tell you the things that you need to work on.

So there's always that balance, but you mentioned that it happened then for six years thereafter. So now reflecting back on that, what would you tell those girls that might be in the same situation? 

JaNay

 It's really hard. That's actually a question that I've ever gotten. I mean, I've gotten just like, Oh, how did you deal with this? But when you're hearing that same message over and over, I didn't realize how much  it had an effect on me until I got to college. Because once I got to college, I didn't feel like I was meant to be there.

I felt like I wasn't where they felt like I wasn't good enough because I had gotten that same message for years after. So, I would say again  lean on your support system. And  what I didn't do, which I will say to girls that they are going through this now, I never had that conversation. Just, "Hey what you are telling me, it's really discouraging to me and I feel that if I'm not meant to go to UCLA then fine, but I want to try my best. And I need you to help me to attain this goal, because this is what I want to do. And you telling me like, tThey recruit Olympians and you are not.

And it's like, okay, but that's not what I need to hear. That's not motivating. And I really wish that you could give me more encouraging words because I'm coming here every day, working really, really hard. And the messages you are sending to me makes me feel like I'm not putting in my best, which I am". So communication, which is something that I mean, I'm still continuing to learn and to do that at such a young age when you're still developing in many ways, in every aspect of your life, it's hard. But I feel that that is the best way is just to communicate to your coaches on how you feel and how it's affecting your confidence. Because you have this goal and you as my coach, are supposed to help me to the best of your ability to reach my goal.

Stef

 And to have that support system that you mentioned, not just be one person, because you want to have multiple voices in your corner that are offering different perspectives. Cause you might, as a young girl go home and your parents are like, you know what? You can do this.  you can put in the time, you can think about what you need to work on.

maybe there's a slightly different message coming from somebody else in your support circle. So I think it's so important for girls to build that holistic system.

JaNay

 100%. Definitely.

 Stef

So what advice would you have for the athletes that are on the teams as the scholarship athletes for how to respect the whole team, even the  walk ons. 

 JaNay

  I think just again, kind of leaving the scholarship status out the door. There were a lot of times where I didn't even know someone was a walk on and I'm like, Oh my goodness, I totally thought you were a scholarship athlete. Just kind of, not really thinking about that firsthand when you are on a team and really just pushing each other.

 Iron sharpens iron.  Just figure out how you can collectively come together and push each other to be better. And, if someone is having a rough day, whether it be a scholarship athlete or not, and they're struggling with confidence. Just ensure them that they are there for a reason.

And remind them how valuable they are to the team and I feel that goes both ways because everybody is coming from different backgrounds. So I would say that for sure. And really just, communicating and coming together and really building that comradery and that net of  connectedness is the best way to describe it.  (laughs) 

 Stef

 I love what you said, leave the status out the door. And I think that's a great way to look at it. And ultimately, that's going to make your team stronger and coming together. So you've built a lot of grit and determination over the years of first deciding you want to go to UCLA at such a young age, making it there, sticking it out for the full four years.

What are the things that you feel you have gained from sport that you're going to now use in your next career of breaking barriers in becoming a sports broadcaster. 

JaNay

 I definitely feel like I took away confidence because I finally found confidence in myself in that, if I work hard at whatever I'm doing, eventually the opportunity will come and it will pay off. And then I feel like I found my voice. I came in as a freshman, very quiet. Didn't really feel like what I said mattered.

 And by my junior and senior year, I really found my voice and felt that I was a leader and I felt that I can help inspire others and that's what really made it worth it.     

Stef

 So Janae, how would you describe your journey in sport as a female athlete? In three words?

JaNay

The three words that first come to mind were 100% empowering. I was always constantly just inspired. So I would say empowering, inspiring and fulfilling because we also had a woman head coach. And it was just incredible to really show the world that  we are strong and we do belong in the sports world.

 And we are in an incredible, amazing sport that anybody can watch. And so, going through my whole career and especially college, those are the three words I felt would just really tie it  up for me. So empowering, fulfilling, and inspiring.

Stef

 And what is the super power that you have gained from all of this amazing time in sport and how are you going to use it to drive something positive?

 JaNay

 I think the superpower I gained was inspiring others. Or just knowing that I am inspiring someone else, In life. You never know whose life you're touching. You never know who you are inspiring or, helping  So just knowing that really helps me, especially now just to do what I continue to do, and if people are struggling or if they need some advice or if they ever need to reach out to me. It's just knowing that any little thing I can do to make their day or to make their day a little bit easier.

If I can, you know, cast my wisdom or what I've learned in college or the knowledge that I've attained to them to help make their process easier. I will do that. It's really good to know that I can inspire someone else, and they can pass along that legacy.

Stef

 So many girls are going to be inspired by your journey after they listened to this episode. So think you're already doing that today, which is amazing.  So what is one piece of advice for girls that are about to walk on at a college sports team?

JaNay: Know your role?  know, you were meant to be there. Commit to it 100% and be yourself.

Stef

 That is great advice. I love that. You know, especially when you're just starting your journey at age 10, 11, 12. What message do you want to send to those girls? What do you want to say to them? 

 JaNay

 I would tell them find why are they doing this for Why does it bring them joy and really hone in on that  really focus on your why?  And lean on your support system.

I would say those two things, because I feel like when you are going through a stressful situation, day in and day out, you forget your why, and you forget the joy that the sport brought you and then you become miserable. So when you are going through that, I really think about even if you need a day off and you're like, you know what, let me not go into practice today because I really need to.

Refocus my reasonings on why I'm doing this sport and why I love it so much and find that joy again. So if that takes a little Sabbath rest day,  take a step back, do whatever you need to do because you are the only person that can do that. No one else can do that for you.

Stef

 And invite a few more voices to the table. If only looking at one or listening to one coach, one trainer, one person, invite a few more people to come into your support circle, because that can make all the difference. 

JaNay

 Absolutely. Oh my goodness, yes.

  Stef

 Thank you so much, Janae. It was a pleasure to have you on and thank you for sharing your story. We're excited to see what you do next.

JaNay 

Thank you so much for having me and I loved being on here.

  Stef

Thank you Janine for being so open and honest about your journey as a walk-on at UCLA. No dream is too big and I hope that young female athletes everywhere keep pushing to make their wildest dreams a reality and choosing the best school for the future is never easy. But Janae stayed true to herself during the process, even when it meant passing on scholarships.

We are so excited to follow your journey. As you take on the sports broadcasting world, we want to see more women like you take on these roles. We're so grateful for all the wisdom that you've given us today Janae. You can follow Janae on Instagram and Twitter. At Janae honest,  You can support Voice In Sport by subscribing to the Voice In Sport podcast and give us a rating. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik-Tok @voiceinsport. And if you're interested in joining our community, when you sign up, you'll have access to exclusive content mentorship from female athletes and advocacy.

Host: Stef Strack

Producer: VIS Creators™ ___Arielle___ and Anya Miller

JaNay Honest, Sports Broadcaster and Former gymnast at UCLA, shares her time as a walk-on at UCLA and highlights the powerful message that no dream is unattainable.