Failure in Sports

Failure is something that no one likes to experience. The feeling of disappointment and not achieving something you want so badly and that you would give your all for it everyday. If it is a bad test grade, 5 more pounds off the scale, or you once again forget to pay the rent at the end of the month. Failure is a broad word and can be used in so many different ways. The one failure I can talk about best is the failure in sports and especially in tennis.


Most sports consist of either winning or losing; there is no grey zone, which means that your performance on a given day is put into either one of the two categories. Tennis is very harsh with distinguishing between success and failure. First of all you are all by yourself on the court, which makes it very challenging mentally. So, imagine you go on the court, feel very prepared because you have worked your tail off the past week and 45 min later you are done and lost 6:0 6:0. It’s a slap in the face; many people breakdown statistics, not knowing what to do, and others are just angry and grumpy. Everyone is unique and reacts differently to adversity, which makes this game—and generally sports—so interesting.

You probably think that a win feels great, as if you can touch the sky and fly with the birds. And a loss makes you feel horrible, sad, and puts you down as in the example mentioned above. But is it really that way? Do we define ourselves by winning and losing?

My answer is no. Failure is a personal notion of achieving your goals or not. You set goals for yourself; realistic goals that you can think you are capable of achieving and then you see if you are able to turn your goals into reality. If you failed to do so, then one can define your actions as failure, as something you were not good enough at. Generally, failure should not be brought into connection with winning or losing. Winning is a nice side effect of doing the right things, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person.

What defines you as an athlete are the goals you have set for yourself, how you want to achieve those goals, and how much effort and work you put into it in order to get rewarded. Let me tell you, if you are doing all the right things, practice hard, eat right, and get enough sleep, and trip at the last hurdle, it is the worst feeling you can experience. It hurts so much that sometimes one can’t stand it. This pain can break you into pieces; it can destroy you physically and mentally. Thinking about putting in 30h a week to get better and then you go to do what you love but let yourself down.


Still, in sports there is no such thing as excuses. If you are a real sportsman or woman, you don’t find excuses for failure, you just try to find solutions to make it better next time. Failure often leads people into the direction of trying to find reasons why they didn’t end up having the results they wanted. In sports its very easy to say: “Today was not my day,” “I was hurt, so I couldn’t perform on my highest level,” or “I just wasn’t in the mood today, next time I will win anyways.” Those are the people that keep on talking, talking, and talking, and don’t show any action to make it better. Those are the people that don’t put in extra hours to work on the things they need to improve on. Those are the people that will never achieve real success in life, because they don’t know what real success feels like.


Success and failure are so closely connected to each other that sometimes it is hard separate them, because once one experiences success, one is scared of the next failure, or once one experiences failure, one can’t wait for success to come. Failure hurts and failure can put people into a mood of giving up and resistance to do the right things anymore. Champions on the other hand, take failure as something positive. As something that helps them improve and get better. You can either give up or use failure as daily motivation to not experience this painful feeling anymore. Use failure, don’t let it take control over your life as an athlete. Make a change. It’s up to you.


“Never give up. There is no such thing as an ending. Just a new beginning.”

11129905_10153138048241422_467826199291629450_o“One day everything comes to an end.” Yesterday, I had my last regular season home match as a Clemson Tiger. Overall, it was a very emotional and heartwarming moment for my teammates and me. We all did not want this day to come, we hoped we could have some more time together, because we have found our second family in each other. Still, time was not on our side and we all had to face this challenging moment together.e

When I came into the locker room at 12pm on our Senior Day, no one was smiling, singing, or eating, which is something that I normally see daily from my girls. The atmosphere was different. Everyone was quiet, thoughtful, and did not really show any kind of emotion. Admittedly, my mood the whole day was not the best either, I still tried to have a smile on my face to cheer the girls up. Not very successfully, I turned on the music and started dancing like an idiot to see some smiles before going out on the court for the senior ceremony. I got some “you are crazy, what the heck are you doing” smiles, probably just trying to make me feel good about myself, and my stupidness. It was unusual; I have never seen the girls this way since I’ve been a part of the Clemson women’s tennis team. It was different. I think the fact that we have four seniors makes the whole situation even more difficult, because half of the team will be gone by the end of the season. This on the other hand, gives four new incoming tigers the chance to become a part of the Clemson family.


Oh well, so the time has come that we all had to go out on the court and get this ceremony and senior recognition going. Seniors first, we headed onto the courts and lined up for the national anthem as we always do. Every senior was introduced mentioning all their achievements, successes, and especially what they have accomplished in their Clemson careers. This was followed by speeches from our teammates.

Tristen, my friend, teammate, roommate, bestie, and sister from another mother, who has been by my side for the past 3 years, spoke some special words about my persona and role on the team. It really touched my heart, and I couldn’t hold back my tears. Tris almost couldn’t speak, hold her tears back, or even breath during her speech. It was so touching, moving, and heartbreaking to see my girl so sad, 11146383_10153138074166422_8637240569956246105_otrying to put a smile on her face whilst having tears run over her cheeks. I took a step towards her when she couldn’t find her voice, but as soon as I moved she caught herself and started a new sentence. Her words were so deep, honest, and full of love, which is a symbol for the friendship we have built over the past three years. She will be a part of my heart forever, as well as Beatrice, Jessy, Annie, Joana, Carola, Dani, and Yana who have been by my side the past years.

It is hard to believe that something so big is coming to an end and that I wont see my girls everyday in the coming years. It is hard to believe that we won’t fight, sweat, and play next to each other anymore. It is a shame, but at the same time something new is about to start. “Never give up. There is no such thing as an ending. Just a new beginning.” Clemson, my time here, the people I have met and worked with, and my team will be in my heart forever. I will never quit my love for this place and the people, but it is almost time for a new beginning.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself…ever. Try to make a change!

Finally I found some time to share my life story with you once again. A long time has passed since my last blog post, but it has been crazy and the time has flown so fast that I can’t even recall everything that has happened in the past month. We are in season and our schedule extremely hectic; we left every Wednesday or Thursday from Clemson and came back Sunday night at 3 am for the past few weekends. Missing classes, having no social time with my boyfriend and friends back in Clemson is not always fun, it can be annoying and stressful, and sometimes you only think: “Screw this”. But all we do this for a purpose, the purpose of being a student athlete, representing your university, working hard every single day, and playing with your team to win the National Title. As a student athlete, one is always dreaming about holding the national trophy in your hands at the end of the season. I can only imagine this feeling so far, but maybe my dreams will come true by the end of my senior year. It is our last chance, the last chance for 3 of my teammates and myself, to accomplish our goals and make a change in Clemson history.


Everyone has their own techniques and methods to keep focused on their goals. My personal three D’s helped me to get better every day trying to improve step by step and not losing eye on what I want to accomplish. Dedication, determination, and discipline are my focus each day as I go out on the court to practice, play my matches, and even as I strive for A’s in the classroom.

After constantly losing at the beginning of the semester, I reached the point of not believing in my abilities, my qualities, and myself as a tennis player. Without considering the fact I hadn’t played for 5 month entering the season, my expectations for myself were so high that I sometimes surprised myself with my performance or put myself down for not playing well. I lost 3-4 matches in a row, which has never happened before in my collegiate career that I can remember of. It was a lack of confidence and a fear that I will never find back to my game. It was a hard way to get out of this dark hole and turn it into a sunny day.

How did I do it? My first answer to this question was: I don’t even know myself. But when I took a step back and listened to my inner voice in combination with my memories, I realized what the turning point was. I was playing a match, maybe one of the worst matches in the past 3 years, and I just didn’t know how to help myself. My focus was solely on myself, not knowing what to do on the court and what was happening. I was lost. And I will never forget the feeling of being left behind by my coaches not knowing anymore how to help me. It was a struggle. I was not able to take information in and execute what I was told. I was just focused on my pity self. After this experience I couldn’t believe myself and in what I have turned into. It was shocking on the one hand and sad on the other. Finally, the true me came forward and said “stop being sorry for yourself and do something to make it better!” I told myself: NOW IS THE TIME TO CHANGE; and I did it.


Playing the next match I changed my attitude, my control of emotions, and my will to give all I have, but really all I have to win, and not leaving the court before its done, in my favor. This mindset and the will to execute the three D’s every single day of my life, helped me to become the person I am, and to find my personal success. Obviously I won’t win all my matches, and I wont find success every day of my life, but it will find me when I need it, such as it did when I beat #1 in the country last weekend. The feeling when success finds you is great, it is one of the best feelings in the entire world, because you know you have achieved something. The something you have worked for so hard in the past. But the journey is not over yet, there is so much more out there to achieve and experience. How does it feel to hold the national trophy? How does it feel to win the conference title? How does it feel to play my last ever home-match as a Clemson Tiger? The answer is waiting for me. Now it’s time to take every opportunity and have the will for success to find me.

Germerican for Years to Come

YRGELPKDVELYLDR.20150220184929Graduate School is on it’s way! I can proudly announce that I received the ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship, which will help me to start my masters degree in the upcoming fall. The scholarship is given to individuals who have excellent academic and athletic achievements; to people who are socially active and give back to the community; and to people who have a leadership role in their team and who do the best they can every day either on the court, in the classroom, or in their private lives. I have worked so hard the past three years, and I am so glad that it has paid off. I made lifelong memories with my girls, the coaches, my friends, and the university, but at the same time I am not only taking my memories with me in my future, but also the opportunity to do great things with the help asfor example this scholarship. I am so excited for this life opening and cant wait to start this new part of my time in the US.

I am generally an adventurous person and love to see, try, and experience new things, so doing my masters in a different part of the US will be great chance for me to get to know myself and this country better. And maybe who knows, I will stay here for a very long time to come, depending on how my life goes; what choices I make, and which opportunities come up in the future. It is exciting not knowing what will happen to me, but on the other side it is so scary and frightening that everything is up in the air.

I guess those are just graduate problems that people pursuing those things encounter. IMG_5614

There’s not enough time to do all of the things I’ll ever want to do on this earth, so enjoying each experience as it comes is a far better game plan than worrying about “what’s next”. Otherwise, we can become so scared, that we miss out on all the pleasure of our current lives. Sometimes one just has to live in the here-and-now rather than in the past or in the future. Obviously it is important to think ahead or go back to situations in your life that you feel were important or where you learned things, but do not make it the main perspective of your existence.

IMG_5340That’s what I have learned in the past 6 months. I was going crazy what going to happen to me in the future, and it stressed me out so much that it took all my energy from me, which I could have put into many other things rather than worrying about something that did not even happen. That’s why we live, we live to learn, experience new things, and make the best out of our abilities and skills. We live to laugh, to be happy, to have fun, and make memories. ‘Love the life you live, and live the life you love.’ as some relatively famous reggae singer once said…

I want this last tennis season as a tiger to go on forever, but it is time for a new chapter of my life. Making decisions is a part of adulthood, so let’s not be scared, and face what’s about to come. I want to make my dreams come true, and at the same time I will take all the ones I love with me in my heart to a new unknown place to find my personal happiness. Go Tigers!

Flashback on my Germerican Career

As I already told you in my last post, I want to do my Masters in the USA. Yes in the land of freedom and opportunities, which is also called the American Dream. I have been living in the States for over three years now and I really enjoy my time here and started to love the life and people. I have learned so much about life, which I would not have learned being babysat by my wonderful mum at home. If your parents are close by they are always looking out for you, give you advice, and help you to solve difficult situations. Sometimes I wish I could just go to my mum, tell her about my problems, and get a big hug. If your mum takes you in her arms it feels so warm and full of love, as no other hug in the entire world. It is so unique and no one else can give you this feeling in a hug other than your parents. Skype is the only option in this long distance relationship, but it definitely is not the same as seeing them in person, talking face to face, and smelling the scent of home. Those are the two wonderful people I am talking about:


Still, all of this I am doing, which means being far away from home, counts as a life experience and helped me a lot to develop my personality, abilities, and skills. I also learned many life lessons, which I would have missed out on staying at home. I never had to open my own bank account, buy a car, deal with car insurance problems, get it fixed, and so on. My parents also don’t know anything about the America system and the life here, so they were not even able to help me with anything.

My freshman year was the worst because you don’t even know what’s going on in general and then one has to handle all of those things besides school and tennis, such as getting a social security number, meet hundreds of people, finish NCAA eligibility stuff, and so on and so on. It was such a challenge, but I mastered it and now I am almost done with my undergrad, which is crazy, because the past three years have passed so fast that I don’t even know where the time went.

The time went fast, but during my collegiate career I have been accompanied by many different teammates and coaches. It has been such a pleasure and interesting time for me, because our team has always been very international and I was able to learn new things about everyone’s culture, behavior, and characters. People from eastern Europe, western Europe, Asia, Africa, and America can be so different, but so similar at the same time. You are finding out things you never thought to have in common. For example our entire team has always been in love with food. We are going crazy at the dinner table, and sometimes coaches are even ashamed of us, but as soon as the food is on the table it is so quiet that you could even hear a raindrop splash the ground. All of our music tastes are so different going from hip hop, to pop, to country, to church music, but then there is this one song playing in the locker room and we all go crazy, mostly after a win. Obviously, we all have a different opinion about craziness, but some show it more than others and that’s okay. Writing this post, and reading my other stories, you might have already figured that I am more one of the louder personalities, and like to act crazy from time to time, but mostly I am the ‘mum’ of the team as my teammates call me.


The main point I want to talk about though is that you may meet someone, and think you have nothing in common, but getting to know each other, and learn more about what one likes, dislikes, loves, hates, will show you more and more that there is something in the other person you can connect with. Just try to find the little something you have in common, instead of giving up on a person you don’t even know yet. Don’t jump to early conclusions, because you might miss out on a great friendship in the future. I made many great friendships in my germerican life and cant wait to fly all around the world for my girls’ wedding celebrations in the years to come… and please have a good buffet and free bar when I am already taking on long travels that might be even longer than the actual wedding day.

In Season Student-Athlete and Women’s “Struggles”

This last week was craaaaazy. We finally are in season, but this also comes with a lot of stress, no time, and phases of bad moods because I am hungry, tired, and a female. If you didn’t know, athletes are always hungry. Especially me. Sleep, having 4 hours practice each day, go to classes, study, sleep and start it all over again takes a lot ofenergy, so food is a good option for the free times in-between all of those activities. I get those food attacks, when I just want to eat everything. When I say everything, I mean fast food, chocolate, donuts, and all those healthy nutrition options, but then I try to calm myself down, look at the positive side of life and tell myself, no not today. 2 hours later I have a donut, crêpe, or waffle in one, and a cup of coffee/cappucino in the other hand. But well, that’s not the only “struggle” I am facing at the

I am a senior, I am only taking 7 credits and I am actually getting too much sleep in the last time. Too much you think? Yes, too much. If the past three years you were only able to sleep 5-7 hours a night, 10 hours everyday can make you feel like a wobbly, tired student athlete throughout the whole day. Mostly, when you are waking up right in the deep sleep period, and you just hit your alarm or throw your phone around the whole room, and think s**t. Oh well, this is another “struggle”. I can tell you.10921722_10101791900274408_653742942_n

Going from having too much sleep to the biggest “struggle”: being a female. Right now, I am not talking about unequal payments, the unfair treatment of women’s and men’s sports, and so on, which would be a great topic to write about in future posts, but the real female struggle is the “sudden and over the top” (as my boyfriend edited into this post) mood changes. Sometimes one doesn’t even know how to control them mostly during that period of the month every girl loves most. So male readers listen up: sometimes you think women know exactly what they want. But we don’t. The only thing we know is what we hate, dislike, and think is unfair. Definitely this special time of the month is one of those things we hate, dislike, and think is unfair. So, just accept one week of craziness a month. Thanks. Also, shout out to my boyfriend and partner in crime who is doing a great job so far accepting my craziness everyday.IMG_5437

Honestly though, women, including myself, can get those mood changes for 365 days a year, which are 8760h, or 525600 min. Yes, it is a lot of time for us to be happy, sad, pissed, annoyed, angry, furious, and pleased. Only the smallest, but really smallest things can bring us women on the palm. Can you say that? Well, in Germany you say it that way/ international problems.

Generally, one can say that women are just emotional human beings, who need a lot of care and love in order to find something that still is not right. I am not making a generalization here, I am just saying how it is sometimes, but I grew over this stage now and set myself the motto: See the bright side of things. Have a smile on your face, and enjoy life with all its surprises. Surprises sometimes can be nice, and sometimes … not really, buuuuut well, see the bright side of it. At least you got surprised.

Another thing I am trying to see the bright side of is the GRE test. Its coming up, and its coming up soon. Its really time I need to take this horror 5h test, which feels like it lasts for 100 days, whilst sitting in a room with other crazed monsters that probably didn’t sleep for the last 5 days leading up to the test, trying to get all the information crammed in their brains. So, I will be sitting in a room with zombies, who are well prepared and trying to get this done, whilst I am tired of having 10 hours of sleep. Tough life.

You are probably asking yourself why I want to take the GRE. Doesn’t she want to go back to Germany after finishing college as most of her German friends studying in the US, or doesn’t she want to go pro as all of her teammates? No, I want to do my master as a Tennis GA in the United States of America. It is what I have decided on and I want to stick with this plan. More about this chapter of my life will follow soon.

Germerican Difficulties – “The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of people.”

Hello everybody!

Our season started last weekend with the Duckworth Winter Classic Tournament. The Duckworth Family are a wonderful couple who have supported Clemson Athletics for years. This relates to what I explained in my last blog post about the ‘Clemson Family’ and how important giving back is in the American culture. Still, my main family here in Clemson is my team.

Our team is such a crazy group of people who are from all over the world and who love each other so much. Indonesians, Italians, Lithuanians, Bolivians, Taiwanese, Americans, and Germans make up this team. We are all so different, but something brings us all together, the love of tennis, and the desire, to win, fight, work hard, laugh, and cry together in wonderful and tough times. I never thought I would call these girls my teammates, friends, and family. It is incredible how college tennis brought us all together and how close we are with each other. It amazes me every day.


“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of people,” or like my coach would say “diversity is the spice of life.” We are all so different, not only coming from different backgrounds and cultures, but also within a culture, people can be very different from each other. I think college sports demands a lot of athletes, not only that they have to deal with the pressure of showing success on and off the court, but also that they are put together with people they did not know before, and with a culture they may have never been in contact with before entering college. I, for example, did not know anyone from Asia before I came to the U.S. I barely knew any Americans, or eastern Europeans. How should you communicate with each other? How should you behave?

In my freshman year I was in many situations with my teammates where there were misunderstandings, language barriers, and yes the pronunciation of words, and how we say things. As a German, I generally speak my mind and did not think about how others would perceive it. At home it all was fine and everyone understood this ‘bluntness’, because that is just the way we behave towards each other. But other cultures put a lot of emphasis on how you say things and what it means to them. I have seen a lot of anger and tears because of the things I have said to people in the past. Often, people took things I have said personally, without it being meant that way. This happened over and over, until I got to know other cultures better and they got to know mine.

With time you learn, regardless of what it is; everything can be learned, taught, and explained. During my collegiate career, one of the main things I have experienced is how to communicate with people from all over the world. It was really not always easy, but now I am a better communicator. I understand cultural views and behaviors, and I accept every person for what they are. I expect the same openness from others, and hope they accept me for who I am. I might be crazy and weird, but my teammates accept me for who I am and what I do, as I do with them. That is why we are a family, and why I feel so blessed to have people around me I can count on and who are there for me, when my real family is far away.

A little something about me.

Hi everyone. My name is Romy Kölzer, I am a 23 years old tennis player from Germany, studying in big ol’ America. I live in Clemson, SC. You NEVER heard about Clemson? Me neither, until I fell in a love/hate relationship with this place during my official visit in 2011. Clemson is a small college town close to Greenville, SC. It is a cute little place where almost everyone is familiar with each other. It is funny, but also nice. On the other side though, one has nothing to do in a small town close to the lake. Here and there are some restaurants and a couple of bars, but that’s already about it, which means in other words that it can be very very very boring at times.

Still, there is much more about Clemson than you might think. Here everything is about tradition. I have never been exposed to something like this before I came here. Everyone loves to follow traditional behaviors that already exist since over hundreds of years. Why? Because of the Clemson Family. Clemson family??? Yes, family, every member of the university is a part of the Clemson family and its existence. … So lets make a stop here and analyze this. So, I am from Germany, okay. I did not have a clue what everyone was talking about,… Clemson Family. What is this??? The life in Germany is so different and individualistic compared to the life in South Carolina. In Germany, everyone does what he or she wants to and what is best for them. Here on the other side, people are always, really always, friendly to each other. Everyone wants to help you and you don’t even know who those people are. Clemson family is the answer to the question. Being a part of a family means to help each other out, try to give advice, and look that everyone is well and alright. First, it was a cultural shock for me and I did not know how to handle all this welcomeness and support from everyone and everything.

Freshman Throwback: People I did not even know are greeting me walking to my classes, saying: “What’s up?” Not knowing what what’s up even means, I tried to figure out how to answer. Then when I finally knew what to say I look up and I only see the back of this friendly person. Like what?? Didn’t he want to talk to me? How I am? I was so confused. It happened to me over and over that people saw me in my Clemson sports clothes and asked me: What’s up? Yea what is up here? I don’t get it. Time passed and finally I asked my teammates what “What’s up” means and why one says it.

Definition: What’s uuuuuup? Means that I am pretending to be friendly to someone, but actually I do not care. I just felt the need of saying something to a random person walking by. Yea, that’s about my definition of whhhhhaaaat’s uuuup. It is so funny thinking back to those times where I really did not have a clue why people are saying things to me and what it actually means. My excuse is always: international problems.

This accent. If you don’t know, the southern accent is a very strong accent, and talking to people on the phone is and was not always easy, mostly when you are a German student athlete, who just came to the US to take on a new adventure. “Hey y’all. How ya doinnnn?” Oh well, tough times. Still, I developed and took on a Germerican southern accent, when my friend Kelly tells me once again: Romy say it! I am just thinking oh lord, this is going to be an embarrassment, because she always wants me to say it in front of other people that never heard a horrible Germerican southern accent. The laugh breaks out. Well at least I am a funny person. Haha

After this little throwback, I want to come back to the fact of the Clemson Family. As I said, at first it was weird and I did not know if all of these awesome people really wanted to help me, but they did want to. They wanted to help me in all I am doing, and I am so grateful for this experience, because it showed me that the Clemson family, really is a family. Mostly, in the sports world of Clemson, one always find someone who is there for you. It’s either a teammate, your coaches, an admin, another athlete, physical trainer, or maybe your strength coach. All of those people are there to support you and to be there in hard times. It is such a blessing to me that I am able to be a part of such an awesome group of people and to have the chance to call myself a Clemson Tiger.

Enough of the soppy talk. Hope you enjoyed some of my freshman insights. More about my Germerican life will follow soon. Then you will also get to know about my life as a student athlete. Season starts tomorrow.