I Get It From My Mama

I Get It From My Mama

To be in the Hunter Family and to play competitive sports is really no big thing in their household; because it’s kind of expected of you (unofficially). Ms. Kyra Hunter from the infamous football powerhouse Hoover High School, in Hoover, Alabama has done it with hard work; and has kept the family history / business going. Kyra was highly recruited in high school girls’ volleyball; and she is just a flat out nice young lady overall. She has a smile that will light up a room. Here is this young lady’s unique story, to the University of New Orleans; on a full volleyball scholarship.

Kyra Hunter, being the oldest of six children (all girls), and the first of them to head off to college this past August 2017; comes from a family full of athletes in various sports over the years. Kyra’s parents, Victor & Tiffany Hunter, both former high school & college athletes themselves, along with her aunts & uncles on both sides of the family tree. The love Kyra Hunter has for the sport of volleyball came after being hit in the face with a ball that was traveling about 45 mph, while she watching her mother, Tiffany play in an Adult Volleyball Women League, at the age of 10 years old. Most young girls would have surely cried from getting hit in the face with a volleyball at that speed, but she did not; she was “hooked” with the intensity/physical play of the game, to the point she asked her mother Tiffany, could she sign her up to learn & play the game; and that is exactly with Mother Tiffany Hunter did. The parents of little Miss Kyra Hunter, don’t believe in pushing or forcing their children to play any kind of sports; even though sports are a major part of the family’s tradition; especially in women’s volleyball, because of her mother and aunt success within the sport in college.

Kyra picked up the game of volleyball quickly; and before she was 11 years old, she was on a traveling AAU Volleyball Club Team. Kyra’s first experience on her first ever team was not as welcoming to her like she was to them; making friends was very hard. The girls were around each other all the time in practice and at games, especially on the road at tournaments; but the friendship never materialized with her teammates back then; and the team was not the best organized around. This upset Kyra’s parents, that their daughter was not being taught the game to their expectations, along with the lack of team’s organization overall. They decided to remove her from that particular team, and allow her to play on one closer to home (Sting), this was the move that eventually changed Kyra’s outlook on the game, and her life & future in the game. Sting Volleyball was totally different from her original volleyball team. Discipline was the name of the game; and the Sting Director, Ms. Julie Dailey rules set the tone for the Sting organization, no makeup or jewelry, no nail polish or anything like that in her gym. Ms. Julie Dailey did not want her players, to think of themselves as female athletes, but just athletes. This type of discipline was obviously different for little Miss Kyra Hunter, who quickly learned to understand and love these rules, as she grew older in the game of volleyball.  No player on the Sting Club team was better than the next; in an organization where players come from so many social groups and various backgrounds. Once the Sting team hit the gym/playing court, they were ONE and a FAMILY.

To describe the gym’s atmosphere was chaotic and electric; this was by design and life lessons were taught during these times; how to handle them pressure situations. Kyra’s years with the Sting Traveling AAU Volleyball team had a lot of hard fought wins, and some tough disappointing losses; but again, all were learning lesson for them all about life. We all know that life isn’t always a bed of roses; sometimes your fingers get pricked by these same rose thorns – as life clearly goes on. Hard work & grit will get you what you want out of life, especially if you do your part. Principles already installed in Kyra by her mother & father at their home, hard work & hours of practice; will never scare off any of the Hunter children.

Kyra’s hard work eventually got this home schooled, female athlete to Hoover High School for her senior year. Yes people, you did read the last sentence correctly, home schooled. Kyra and her basketball playing sister, Victoria Hunter used the Tim Tebow Rule, to play major high school sports at a 7A Class High School. Kyra’s only year of high school volleyball (her senior year), was one for the record books; and a time in her life she’ll never forget. The Hoover High School Volleyball Coach (Chris Camper) challenged Kyra and her teammates to commit to each other, and commit to representing the school’s “Lady Bucs” Volleyball Team proudly; like never before. Kyra was use to success at the AAU Level; but high school was a new animal to her, but Kyra was obviously a “winner;” and her numerous personal awards over the years clearly reflected that. During the Alabama 7A State Title run, making it to semi-state was a team goal; until reality hit the Hoover High School “Lady Bucs right in their face. At semi-state, they had to play the unbeatable opponent in the state tournament, and it was no secret that the “Lady Bucs” from Hoover, Alabama were clearly the underdogs; out of the 7A Class State “Final Four” schools. “PUMP YOUR BRAKES” people, no one told them “Lady Bucs” that underdog stuff; they swept the state favorite team right out of the Alabama State Championship Tournament. The excitement of the “upset” win, could not be carried over to the Alabama 7A Girls State Volleyball Championship Title Game; the “Lady Bucs” fell a little short in the title game. Yes, the team and Kyra were a little disappointed; but she would not trade that experience & her high school teammates for anything in the world.

Ms. Kyra Hunter was no stranger to college volleyball coaches, especially from her many years on the highly competitive AAU Girls Volleyball circuit; where she played in many major AAU Tournaments all across the country. Kyra did make a couple of college campus visits to the University of Tennessee & the University of Alabama, just to name a few, during her recruitment process. I’m sure the SEC universities weren’t too happy to hear when they all learned that Kyra decided to take her talents to the University of New Orleans; because she really “clicked” with Coach Millicent Van Norden and the school’s volleyball players. The U of N really impressed her overall, along with her future college teammates; because they are really building something special there at the University of New Orleans.

The uniqueness to Miss Kyra Hunter is that she’s very coachable, and the ultimate team player, that has the talent any college coach would love to have in their program for the next four years. Volleyball has played a major role in her development in life as well, because she used to stay to herself; but by meeting other young ladies from across the United States of America, she clearly opened up and became a leader. The life lessons taught to her through the game of volleyball were so important to her; and she understands how blessed she is; and is forever grateful and humbled by what the game has given her. She is a very inspired young lady, because of her success on the volleyball court. Kyra never wanted to be just known as the little “black girl born in Birmingham, Alabama.” Now the game she loves and was introduced to by her mother Mrs. Tiffany Hunter at 10 years old, is paying for her NCAA D-1 college education.

Miss Kyra Hunter started a new chapter in her life, just a couple of weeks ago, as she moved onto campus at the U of N; as an incoming college freshmen. Kyra is expected to do well at the school, along with the other impressive incoming freshmen; this program is definitely on the rise, people. The glimmer in this young lady’s eyes scares me; she plays a very intense game of volleyball, and you don’t ever want to be across the net from here; when she’s in “attack mode” (because it won’t be anything nice), which is in a direct conflict with who she really is away from the gym/court. Kyra possesses a “Hollywood smile” that is brighter than the sun. This young lady’s future is so bright right now; and she has just begun this new chapter of her life; and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her in the future.

We here at Gigaré Lifestyle Magazine are very honored, to be able to tell your story to the world, young lady; in our online International publication.

Coach Tony Branch

GLM Freelance Sports Writer

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