Off Court with Jody Bell
Time certainly does fly when you are having fun. However, once you come to the realization that the fun times are nearing an end, you might take a moment to reflect on times past and then optimistically (or apprehensively) look ahead toward the future. For 6-2 senior forward Jody Bell, her time on the Forty Acres has passed in the blink of an eye; yet, with all she has experienced during her time at Texas, one thing has remained constant - belief in herself and her team.
When Bell first arrived in Austin from the faraway Canadian province of Alberta, she thought her contribution to the team would be that of a major role player. Yet, although Jody has not seen this role become a reality and while others may have become discouraged, her positive attitude and desire to help the team succeed presented a challenge for her to create her own unique role on the team.
"I came in thinking I was going to be a role player and see lots of playing time," Bell said. "The role I imagined might have been a little different from what my role is now, but I am still the same person I have always been - outgoing, energetic and excited about life. I show up to practice every day ready to work hard and push my teammates to be their best. That is my role, and it is an important one."
It is Jody's selfless nature that has allowed her to find other ways in which to become an integral part of this team. Over the years, Bell has developed and consistently worked on her shot, which has given her a reputation as a three-point threat. Her accuracy in shooting from behind the arc has also inspired the nickname "Canadian bomber". Her range and shooting accuracy from beyond the arc also offer the coaching staff another weapon in which to help change the course of a game. "I am always ready to be called upon to shoot the three," Bell said. "It's a privilege to have a play run for you - having the coaches tell your teammates to get in the game and get the ball to you so that you can shoot the three. That's an honor."
Bell's spark off the bench is, however, unparalleled to that which she displays on the sidelines. It is difficult to overlook one of the most vocal members of the team who tirelessly supports and cheers on her teammates. The first one off the bench to applaud a play and the first player out during a timeout to high-five a teammate or offer encouragement, Jody's sportsmanship does not go unnoticed with the Longhorn fans.
Even though Bell is quite comfortable in this role today, she was not always so eager to take on the role of team "cheerleader."
"As a freshman, I was timid and just trying to figure out the system," Bell said. "And at that time the team had players like Tai (Dillard) and Alisha (Sare) who were both very outspoken. As the years went by, and players like Tai and Alisha left, there was no one to fill their spot, so I figured I would step into the role of being a vocal leader and providing energy for the team."
The energy displayed both on and off the court, along with the ability to accept her role on the team, has garnered her great respect from fans, teammates and coaches alike.
"Jody is a team player," assistant coach Travis Mays said. "She hasn't seen a lot of minutes on the court but continues to be upbeat. She is comfortable with her role on the bench, showing excitement and supporting her teammates with the best attitude possible. That is a tough position to be in and I tip my hat to Jody. She handles it as well as anybody."
Now that her time at Texas is coming to an end, what does the future hold for the "Canadian bomber?"
"I would really like to stay in Austin and establish a career working with kids," commented Jody. "I volunteered this semester with an organization called First Tee, which strives to help local youth learn life skills through the game of golf. It was my volunteer work that inspired me to want to teach kids through sports. I do not necessarily want to coach, but I do want to be able to share the life skills I learned through sports with others."
The past four years have come and gone and though they may not have been exactly how she envisioned them, Jody can look back and be proud that she has made the most of her time at Texas. She definitely will have a lasting impression on the women's basketball program and its fans.
"I want people to remember me as the one who worked hard, had a smile on her face and was always excited about life," Bell said.
She will also be remembered as the player who stayed true to herself and was as a valuable teammate in many different ways - important ways that don't show up on the career stats list or game box score.