DANIELLE ELLIS

Astra Athletica Ambassador Danielle Ellis Sitting Volleyball


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Sport: Sitting Volleyball
Hometown: Whiterock, BC
Nickname: "Danny"

MY ASTRA STORY

Back in 2011, I competed with Team Canada in Sao Paulo, Brazil to qualify for the 2012 Paralympic Games. Going into that competition, we expected to come out on top and had planned to place high enough to qualify for London. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that we would win.

In our first match against Brazil, we didn't know what hit us. Coming home as Team Captain, I felt disappointed. Disappointed in myself for not being able to bring my team the win, disappointed that I clearly didn't work hard enough going into competition (regardless of the fact I had taken months away from work to train full-time), and disappointed in my teammates, feeling that they didn't work hard enough to play against a team we thought we would win against. I spiraled downward. I began to hate myself, my team and my sport. I was angry all the time. Looking back, I was clearly depressed. I eventually quit sport and moved on to life after. It was okay; I finished school, got the job I wanted, started building a family life, but I never felt fulfilled. I was lucky enough to be invited back to try out for the team in 2015, before the PanAm Games in Toronto, but unfortunately timing just didn't work out. In 2016, I went back to tryout and was selected to represent Canada in Rio.

Coming back hasn't been easy, and I mostly just ignore the remnants of feelings I still have from when I left so many years ago, the hate, the distrust. Lately, I've been working hard to stop suppressing the feelings and actually start to work them out. I'm never going to be the best version of myself if I can't put myself out there. You can't be the best without the passion, and you can't have passion if you don't let all of those feelings, not just the good feelings, flow through you. So I'm learning to embrace not only the highs, but the struggles, the defeat and every moment in between so that I can grow to be the best athlete and person that I can be.

 WHAT DRIVES ME

Obviously a Medal, and I'll tell you why, although its hard to describe the feeling. I'm sure if you talk to any athlete out there, all they want is a medal at the Paralympic/Olympic Games, and having watched those medal ceremonies in person, I cannot begin to describe the magnitude of emotions I felt at the time. To be able to work so hard at something I love so much and hear O Canada play, with the whole world watching, isn't just a dream, it's a goal. Something I look towards every day to push me to be the best.

 HOW YOUR FUNDING WILL HELP

Court times take up the majority of my training budget (as the costs are quite high), so extra funding will help add more on-court training, as well as increasing my budget for healthier grocery options to supplement my training! I want to be on that podium, and every minute on and off the court counts!