Brutal. That would have been the best word to describe this Warrior’s rigorous schedule last year. With AP and college concurrent courses on top of her athletic ambitions, Camryn ‘CJ’ Johnson would rack up the hours getting things done. Know that, when we say hours, we mean hours, and his year appears to be no different.
“Oh my goodness,” Megan Johnson, Camryn’s mother begins. “Because she would be at practice right after school, she would be doing homework sometimes until 1 in the morning, I would even go down at times and sit by her just to help keep her awake.”
The thing is about Camryn is that; she is not even sure what direction she wants to take yet when it comes to her professional pursuits. With hints of a possible medical profession and even that being uncertain, the heavy academic schedule is designed for one thing at this point, and that is to push her. You see, when you take on the difficult things first, everything else become so much easier along the way.
Practicing for 2-3 hours a day after school CJ has really taken to her teammates and loves that her coaches have helped the team learn how to trust each other. “Our coaches have taught us that we are volleyball players not setters or outside hitters. We all need to know how to do everything. This really helps because we trust and rely on each other more knowing that we can all work together and all understand what needs to be done.”
Recalling her trip to the state championships for volleyball last year as a junior, Camryn shares what she will remember most. “It was the coolest experience. I don’t even know how to explain it, its like you are feeling this energy from every player. It was really intense. We would play little dancing games like ninja just to get our minds off everything and relax.”
“A lot of people don’t get to go to state,” shares Megan. “What was neat was they played Morgan for the championship and the year before Snow Canyon had beat Morgan for state. This was a chance to face them again, kind of a revenge game. We ended up taking second this last year, but to be there was awesome and to see her do so well knowing she had worked so hard to get there was great.”
“Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t always win, nut don’t be afraid of making decisions.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Before every game CJ gets into her zone. She finds a quite spot before the game and listens/watches a video full of motivational quotes and messages, which, in her words, “really gets me pumped up for the game.” One quote in particular happens to be part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Six Rules for Success in which he states, “Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions.” Fitting for Camryn to say the least, where in a sport like volleyball, the fast pace and reaction time comes rapid fire and quick decision-making and living by those decisions is paramount.
“I love Coach Parker. She was a really big mentor and taught me a lot,” CJ, speaking on the player coach relationship and it’s impact. “I learned from her that, I could be a hard worker and not slack off for anything. One thing she would always say to us was to fail forward.” Knowing that mistakes will be made on and off the court, moving mast and learning from the experience was a vital lesson, one that Camryn will always take with her. “I know that no matter what I can always keep improving.”
“It doesn’t matter what she tries,” says Trevor Johnson, CJ’s father. “It doesn’t matter what she tires, she just has a natural ability to pick it up.” Recounting the many sports his daughter has played from golf, to soccer and now volleyball and softball, it is clear that CJ is full of talent. It doesn’t stop at sports either for the Lady Warrior; she also plays the piano and loves to draw.
Always willing to take on a challenge Camryn has learned to leverage the discipline and hard work she has been taught by each of her coaches. She sees such as an opportunity to grow and develop as a player and more importantly a person. “She’s an extremely hard worker,” notices Trevor. “She is always early to practice. She has always tried to be a good example. I have always been impressed by her work ethic. It shows in her play because in those moments she get those digs in, from out of no where it seems sometimes.”
The quiet type, you rarely hear CJ bragging about what she has done or accomplished. Humility among athletes is rare, understandably so since most athletic performances are literally in the spotlights. Even though volleyball is a sport that she loves it appears that softball is her sport of choice and one, which he hopes to pursue at the collegiate level. BYU is the school of choice but she will be happy to play anywhere.
“For a small girl,” says dad, “she is extremely strong and quick with her hands.” For a pitcher, power and speed can make all the difference. “It’s pretty impressive how she can turn so quickly on the ball and hit it out of the park.”
As a year around athlete, playing volleyball in the fall and then diving right in to softball for the remainder of the year, a break is the last thing on her mind. Playing in softball tournaments before volleyball season began then moving right into softball again at the close of the fall season. Not only is her love for sports on display but also points to her athleticism as a whole. Where most chose one sport, few choose two, and even less chose three. Camryn has the ability to excel at both sports she plays however never loosing sigh of the most important aspect of her high school career, “I am a student first and an athlete second.”
“She has been lucky to have really good examples and we get to see that in the sports first hand,” Trevor points out. “She watches the great players and kind of mimics them, learn from them and even some of the players she looked up to were also 4.0 students. So there are people out there that are paving the way and giving these girls and boys patters to follow and we appreciate that.”
“She is so driven,” says Megan. “She sets goals and accomplishes them. She never has been one who backs down from doing something that’s hard or taking on a challenge, in school or in sports.” • HSSI