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Guided by faith, Pope overcomes injury and makes college pick

Posted on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 3:18 pm

Photo Courtesy of David Smith Addison Pope is all smiles as she signs her letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Freed-Hardeman University.

One of the worst times for an athlete to suffer a significant injury is during their senior season, which can often affect the ability to continue athletics at the collegiate level.
After Cascade senior Addison Pope suffered a significant knee injury during her senior volleyball season, she used the opportunity to focus on her faith and that ultimately led her to signing her letter of intent to continue her career at Freed-Hardeman University.
“It’s special. It’s a blessing from God. I wasn’t where I should have been spiritually when I hurt my knee. I think everything happens for a reason in your life and I think it happened to me to get my priorities set. I would always be sports and then God, and that’s not how it should be,” she said.
For many, a knee injury during their senior season could be a career-ender.
Instead, Pope used the opportunity to grow spiritually, which helped guide her into making her college pick.
“it was a journey because I had surgery on my knee. The leap of faith I took, knowing I didn’t have a college already. I really wanted to play college, so I just had the surgery and this opportunity came about. It’s just been a blessing.”
The ability to find her path to Freed-Hardeman certainly wasn’t the original plan for Pope, who originally wanted to pursue a path playing college softball.
But the grind of playing softball eventually took its toll on her and Pope eventually turned her focus on playing volleyball, which she picked up during her eighth-grade year.
“Whenever I started playing volleyball, it was just for fun. There was no pressure at all. When I started playing, coaches told me I should be a middle. I just love the energy and excitement you receive in being with your teammates,” she said.
Eventually, Pope began the search for her college career and the opportunity to further her education, as well as continue playing volleyball.
The connection with the Freed-Hardeman coaching staff and a visit to the campus confirmed she knew where she was meant to be.
“There was a list of schools that I’ve had. I emailed them and three or four of them responded. I went to another school and didn’t click well with the coach, but this coach (Freed-Hardeman coach Amanda Cunningham), I really like her. And I have some friends that go there. I went and toured the campus and it just felt like that’s where God wanted me to be. I wanted to continue to grow in my faith and play the sport that I love,” she said.
Pope plans to pursue a degree in elementary education and hopes to one day return to help coach the Cascade volleyball team.
Freed-Hardeman is a NAIA school, located in Henderson and competes in the Mid-South Conference.