The following article, written by former BC Volleyball standout Lanie Camarillo, originally appeared in the Bakersfield Californian on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Click here for the article on Bakersfield.com.
One of the first things that my coach, Carl Ferreira, ever asked my teammates and I was: "Why are you here?"
At the time I struggled to find the answer, wondering what exactly it was that he wanted me to say. I had just graduated from Liberty High School, and wasn't truly interested in furthering my athletic career mainly because at this point in my life, I was worn down. Volleyball had become a chore rather than a passion, I was unsure about the current path that I was on, and my mental health wasn't doing great. And yet I sat there, surrounded by a group of women who would not only become my future teammates, but some of my best friends.
Going around the room, each of us explained our reasoning for coming out to be on the Bakersfield College Volleyball Team. As soon as we finished giving our answers, Coach Carl explained to us the real reason why we were there, which was; to invest in ourselves and our teammates. This phrase became the core focus of the team and was one of the many things that I took away from the BC Volleyball program.
My last two years with the Renegades were ones of complete transformation. At first I struggled, something that my teammates and I would learn was part of the process. We would come to understand that struggling was the key component to growing and we began to embrace it. Some days were harder than others, as each of us struggled in our own ways — some had a harder time than others. This program is not easy and tested us to challenge our craft, our bodies, and most importantly our minds.
Though it was hard and we had rough patches, at the end of the day the team had each other, a sisterhood to fall back on. This sisterhood dynamic that the team embodied was authentic, relentless and loving, which resulted in a team chemistry so strong it was observable by anyone who watched us perform. This bond between players was something I had never previously experienced on a team, and made my overall experience something that I will never forget.
By this time, we came to understand that by investing in ourselves — by struggling and working on our weaknesses, we were simultaneously investing in our teammates. This is what led to our overall success.
Through my time at Bakersfield College, I went from never playing in the back row to becoming a six-rotation player, never coming out of the game. My volleyball I.Q. grew more than it had in years, and I fell in love with the sport again. Off the court, I excelled in the classroom having been awarded for my academics by the Jockey Club, and both my mental health and confidence had improved exponentially. All while having an overall record of 44-4, winning two conference championships, and being selected for 1st team All-Conference during my career. This is all attributed to the foundations put in place by the BC Volleyball Program, which gave my teammates and I the tools we needed to succeed
As I continue my volleyball career at Western Oregon University, I've left Bakersfield and BC as an enlightened, brave and happy individual. I'm closing that chapter of my life, forever grateful for the impact this program has had on me both on and off the court. I will never forget the relationships I formed with everyone who was a part of this journey, and will forever be thankful for all of the love and support leading up to this next chapter in my life.
Lanie Camarillo is now a Bakersfield College graduate and has transferred to Western Oregon University.