By Moné Jones
As I begin to reflect on my time here at UVA, I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing program and tradition. Being able to play the sport I love, in the conference that I have dreamed of playing in and gaining a lot of sisters and lifelong friends on the way has enhanced my experience as a Cavalier. Being a part of the women’s basketball program allowed me to learn and grow in ways that are unmatched. I will always cherish the life lessons I have learned both on and off the court. The attributes that I have gained through adversities will propel me forward as I embark on a new journey.
All four teams that I had the opportunity to be a part of have had a different dynamic, but they all had a few things in common. Selflessness, willingness to grow and the eagerness to get better. I am truly thankful for all of the coaches and teammates that have poured something valuable into me. Everyone that has been a part of this growing program has provided valuable lessons that helped me become the young adult I am today. Being a part of Virginia Athletics, I have learned that in order to strive for uncompromised excellence, there is a certain level you have to bring every day. Whether that is on the court, in the classroom, or in life.
When I was looking for a school, the first word that came out of my mouth was home. I come from a close-knit family and I wanted to join another family. As soon as I walked on UVA’s Grounds on an unofficial visit, I knew where I wanted to be. Being able to play the sport I love and being able to receive a great education from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation was icing on the cake. UVA became my home away from home. The excitement and the support around women’s basketball was refreshing to witness. Even when some of the goals we set as a team were not met, the fans still showed up and supported us through it all. The unwavering support that this program has received over the years has not gone unnoticed.
Before I stepped on Grounds officially as a Cavalier, I met my then soon-to-be teammate, now sister, Shakyna. We came in to UVA with three and now leaving with just the two of us. I cannot tell you how proud I am to call you my sister. We both came in to UVA with excitement about the possibilities in front of us. Together, we overcame adversity and helped each other along the way. Your bubbly personality and smile always brightened up my day. Thank you for sticking by me through it all. I appreciate our long talks, Richmond trips, random photo shoots, inside jokes, our monthly dinner dates. I thank UVA for bringing us together. Not only am I excited about what the future holds, but also how our friendship will blossom.
Looking back on these four years, I could not have made it without my family. Thank you, mom and dad, for always pushing me to be the best, loving me through it all, believing in me, wiping my tears away and also being the shoulders I lean on the most. My support system continued to uplift me, stood by my side through the good and the bad and supported me and this program. I cannot put in words how grateful I am to have a loving and supportive family. Your words of encouragement, long hugs, facetime talks, and loud cheers are a constant reminder of how blessed I am to have a family like you all. I appreciate you.
As my journey here at UVA is starting to wind down, I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I am thankful to the man above for allowing me to be a part of something special. The impact that Charlottesville, UVA, this program, my teammates and coaches, and our fans have had on me will always hold a special place in my heart. I did not just come to UVA just for four years, this is a lifetime commitment. I will always bleed Blue & Orange. Charlottesville will always be home.
Until we meet again,