With the second little girl, we wanted to be as intentional about her name. Unless you have done it (and naming a dog doesn't quite count) there is so much pressure to name another person. It's something they will have their whole life. It's something they will be known for and remembered by. And we did not want to pick it willy nilly.
Travis has been a coach for many years and seen hundreds of kids pass through his program. Some have been difficult. Some have been wonderful. Some even still come back years and years later to volunteer coach with him. One student stood out above the rest. Not only was she the fastest runner anyone has seen in a long time (winning races at meets by a very very very long margin) but she was the most humble girl with a contagious smile. Most incredible to me was her heart. She would run her race and win every time with no competitor even close, but between each race, you could see her warming up with and encouraging the slowest students. There was no pride evident, only support for her team mates no matter their level.
She made such an impression on us, we decided to name our little girl after her. She was overwhelmed that we would think so highly of her.
She succeeded all throughout high school. She was at the top of her game in track and maintained her integrity. In 2008, she qualified for the Olympics representing her Dad's home country of the Marshal Islands. She didn't make it past the qualifying race but what an incredible opportunity!! We clipped articles and put them in Haley's scrapbook. Last night we were watching the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in England and during the Parade of Nations we saw this . . .
Carrying the flag with her smile lighting up the stadium. As Travis posted on his Facebook page:
This is Haley Nemra, whom I taught and coached in basketball and track. She's running the 800m for the Marshal Islands and got to carry the flag. This kid was so amazing we named our daughter after her. GO HALEY!!
We are so excited for her. What an amazing honor to go from a small town girl succeeding in a sport she put her heart into, to a spot in the Olympic games and be recognized by the world. We are so proud of you Haley!!!! (And so thrilled that the namesake of our little girl continues to shine)