Family, Wednesday Stories

A Woman to Watch

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet because this is one of those weeks that I am crazy busy.  And sometimes, I need to spend more time on other things besides blogging.:)  So, I haven’t had time to find more Wednesday stories for you.  But I hope you will enjoy this post anyway.

I recently finished reading Proud, Young Readers Edition.  I can’t say how amazed I was at Ibtihaj’s strength, endurance, and faith in her religion.  Ibtihaj had amazing parents.  They were dedicated to her success.  But even with amazing parents, she still had to make her own way.  She dealt with bullying, discrimination, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and so much more.  Yet she had an incredible faith that if she put in the hard work, she would succeed.

Here is a quote from Chapter 8.  It is from her high school coach that truly believed in her, even when she didn’t believe in herself.  She had just graduated from Duke University and couldn’t find a job.  She was struggling with what her life direction should be.


{“Coach,” I said, half laughing but still serious, “can you give me a harder lesson?”

Coach raised his bushy eyebrows.  “Okay, Ibtihaj, let’s see what you’ve got.”  And then he let me have it, treating me like an equal opponent for the first time…..Finally Coach Mustilli yelled, “Time!”….”Ibtijah, what are you doing here?  What do you really want?”

I was unprepared for this question.  What did I want?

“What I saw out there,” Coach continuted, “was something I didn’t know you had.”

My eyes grew wide in surprise. “Really? You think I still have talent?”

“Talent? Ibti, I don’t think you’ve even hit your peak yet.  I think if you want to go all the way with fencing, you can.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  No one had ever said this to me before.  Not at Duke and not even at the foundation.  Plus, I had never really imagined anything beyond college fencing.

“What do you mean, ‘go all the way’?”

“I mean that you should think about competing on the international circuit and maybe even think about the Olympics,” Coach Mustilli said.  He must have seen my mouth hanging open, because he added, “I’m serious, I saw something out there today that I honestly didn’t know you had.”}


She worked harder than I can imagine.  She made huge progress the next couple years.  But it was not easy.  She was not accepted by her teammates or coaches on the national team or the Olympic team(until the final day when the team need to pull together if they wanted to medal).  It even got so bad that one time she severely injured her ankle.  It was hugely swollen.  The next day, her coach, held an “unannounced” practice-they typically would “forget” to inform her of these extra practices.  Well, her coach was so upset that she wasn’t there, all the while he is talking to her-she is on crutches, mind you.  She reminded him that she could barely walk.  The team doctor even stepped in and tried to appease the coach and remind him that he did treat her.  Her coach said, well, you can walk, so you should have been there.  I can’t even imagine.

I believe she is a woman to watch as she blossoms.  She started her own clothing line Louella because she couldn’t find enough modest clothing.  We need more people to stand up for goodness and hard work.  She is one of those people.

I love reading about inspiring men and women.  We truly can do anything if we put our minds to it.  Pray.  Trust.  Put in the work.  And go for it.

Life is Good.  Share the Good.

PS  Follow her on Instagram @ibtihajmuhammad

Here are some recent photos she’s shared on IG

Screenshot_2018-09-26 Ibtihaj Muhammad ( ibtihajmuhammad) • Instagram photos and videos

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