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Behind the Bruin: two volleyball stars blog about personal hardships


No. 15 Lauren Walsh and No. 20 Laura Shoopman celebrate on the court. Photo courtesy of Belmont Athletics.

What all began as a marketing assignment turned into an outlet for Belmont volleyball’s Laura Shoopman and Lauren Walsh to connect with others through life stories. As marketing majors, Shoopman and Walsh were both required to start a blog marketed through social media. The class assignment impacted both players more than they were expecting. Shoopman’s blog, "Beyond the Net,” highlights how athletes are “more than their athletic abilities,” featuring athletes both on and off the field or court. “The people I am showcasing is just because they are good people and there is more to them than what the majority of the student body sees than when they are performing their sport,” Shoopman said. By interviewing her teammates and other athletes alike, Shoopman quickly learned that everybody has a story to tell. “Everybody has gone, or is going through, something that could be very similar to something I have gone through in the past,” she said. When her class ends, she will continue her blog by focusing on “higher quality and lower quantity,” Shoopman said. While Shoopman takes a more athletic approach in her writing, Walsh’s blog, “Road I’m On,” is about the individual journey of life from a Christian perspective. Some of her recent blog posts include features highlighting a range of voices such as her sister, best friend and a Vietnam veteran. When picking guests, Walsh chooses those who “have walked the roads of life specific to the topic at hand,” while sending a Christian message to readers. “This blog kind of became a resource for myself,” Walsh said. “It was a moment for me to humble myself and realize that life is hard, and it hits you when you least expect it.” Walsh recently injured her achilles and underwent surgery but found comfort in knowing that she was not alone on her road. Walsh wants her audience to know the importance of friendship, she said. “Life can be really hard, and you need a friend to lend a hand in times of need,” Walsh said. Although Walsh will not continue her blog once class ends, she hopes to continue podcasting by posting Zoom recordings of her conversations with guests. Whether they continue to blog after taking the class or not, both volleyball stars are grateful for the experience gained as it helped them dive into deeper conversations with their peers. This article was written by Gabriella Mendoza

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