After training with the USA National Volleyball team for almost four years, the big day finally arrived. The final cut for the 2000 Olympic team was about to happen. I felt confident. My fitness level was at its peak. My dream was about to come true.
There were 15 girls in the room as the head coach revealed which 12 players would travel to Sydney for the 2000 Olympics. He listed the names and left the room.
I thought there was a mistake. Where was my name? Perhaps he left it off accidentally. I counted the names. There were 12 names, and Val Sterk was not listed. How could this be? Some of the players on the list had been with the team for only a couple months; I had been there for years! My heart was broken; my dreams, crushed. Suddenly, the thousands of hours in the gym, the sweat, the tears—it all became meaningless.
My dream to play volleyball in the Olympics was shattered. Why had God put me through this for four years just to be cut at the very end? I spent a long time in prayer, and finally I began to realize that sometimes our plans don’t match God’s plan. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
The day I was cut from the Olympic team was also the day I had my first date with Olympic triathlete Hunter Kemper. Our relationship developed quickly, and I was given the opportunity to travel with his family to Sydney to support him and my volleyball teammates at the Olympics.
That disappointing day in 2000 had a bright ending. Three years later, I would marry the man of my dreams, Hunter Kemper. Now I know why God had me at the Olympic Training Center all those years. God’s plan truly is the best.