10 Things Having Brothers Taught Me

My brothers have taught me a lot in life. Whether I'd like to admit it or not, I wanted to be just like them. Even though I'm not always great at showing it, having older siblings is truly a blessing, and I am very lucky to have grown up with my brothers Dante and Vince. We may not always see eye-to-eye but I appreciate our differences and laugh over our similarities. They are great leaders, intelligent people, and always know how to make me laugh even when I'm really ticked off at them. I figured they deserved a shout-out because I am the coach/ person/ friend/ sibling I am today because of them. So Dants and Chenz - this one's for you.

(1) Just because I'm a girl, does not make me any less of an athlete.

This is the most important lesson my brothers taught and I don't think they ever really realized they were doing it. If we were playing a sport, they would never go easy on me. They would play as hard on me as they would on any of their friends. What that taught me was that I was no different of an athlete because I was a girl - I could play with anyone, at anytime and I should never let anyone tell me otherwise.

(2) Learn from their mistakes. 

They had a curfew so I didn't have to.

 (3) Family is the best support system. 

No matter how hard they were on me, they always had my back and I could (and still can) always rely on them. They are my best friends and role models.

(4) Work hard for what you want.

Things are not going to be handed to you on a silver platter - you want something, you have to get it yourself. I still remember the morning Dante came into my room and asked if I wanted to go for a run with him. I told him I was tired and I would run later and he said "Alena, while you're in here sleeping, someone else is up getting better." Let me tell you, that STILL gets me out of bed in the morning.

(5) Can't leave until you hit your shots.

After shooting around or playing basketball with my brothers, I could never go inside until I hit 3 shots from 6 places on the court. If I missed one, I 'd have to start at the beginning again. This taught me to be disciplined and resilient. It taught me that constant practice and dedication to my sport would one day pay off. This also may have contributed a lot to my Type A personality ...

(6) Don't be afraid to talk to people. 

Talk to strangers and perhaps even high five them if you have a chance.

(7) Do something that scares you. 

Vince created a business (The Legacy Coaching), Dante moved out to British Columbia and took up an entirely new sport. They taught me that you never know until you try and sometimes the best things in life happen when you take a chance on something you were scared to do.

(8) The names of every professional sports team between the years of 1996-2002.

Conversations at family dinners always revolved around sports. When we would be out at a restaurant, Dante and Vince would say the first part of a team's name and I would have to finish it (we would also do this with athletes). Seriously, ask me any NBA player in the year 1997 ...

(9) Being a Tom Boy is more fun. 

They taught me how to throw a perfect spiral (always follow through), how to catch a pigskin and how to eat like a Hoover vacuum ... all very valuable lessons in survival.

(10) The baby is always the favourite. 

Amirite?

I guess I should give a shout-out to the real MVP's - my mom and dad. As I get older I start to realize just how much I appreciate the way we were raised. For those of you who know my parents, know that Gusieppe and Sooze are 100x cooler than Dante, Vince and I will ever be. We definitely have big shoes to fill ...