Examining Truth and Twitter

(Nate Barrett/Emerald)

I remember life before Twitter.

I know, it’s only been a few years but sometimes it feels like a different lifetime.

I was a pretty confident kid. Somehow, I avoided the desperately insecure years that many of my peers experienced in High School. While the common school of thought was that “fitting in” was what made a kid confident, being different was the key to my self-esteem. What’s so different about a white, blue eyed, blonde haired girl growing up in a middle-class american family?

When surrounded by friends with dark skin and dark hair growing up in government housing, a lot. I didn’t care about my clothes, because in my circles, sweatpants and white Fruit of the Loom tank-tops were the daily uniform. I didn’t bother with my hair, because all the girls at school just loved how long I could get it to grow. The Phoenix sun kept my skin tan. Volleyball, basketball and track kept my body in good enough shape to eat a personal pizza, Jamba Juice and Snickers for lunch every day. I’d never dyed my hair, been to a tanning booth, had a facial or even had my nails done. I was friendly and good at sports. And that was enough.

I knew there were some boys at school and church who probably liked me. But I didn’t know exactly what they thought.

Some kids made fun of me for being the Christian girl, Coach Steele’s daughter or the girl who got dropped off in the creepy kidnapper vans (Coach Steele used them to transport his players… and daughters who cared too much about what people thought). No, I don’t believe I was bullied. I just dealt with life’s unpleasantries. Standing up for what you believe in will make some people unhappy, and even people who have very little will judge you by what you have or don’t have.

Whenever it appeared that my confidence was affected by something trivial, my dad would say something like this: “Sam, if you’re gonna live your life trying to be the prettiest, smartest or most athletic, you will never feel like enough. There will always be somebody else you think is better. If your confidence is based on something subjective, you will never be truly confident.”

Yeah, yeah. Got it.

Generally speaking, I did feel like enough. All I remember thinking at the time, was “dang Dad, I don’t think you’re supposed to tell your daughter she isn’t the prettiest, smartest or most athletic…”

It didn’t sink in until age 23. After three years on my own in NYC and two years finishing school in Virginia, I signed with Fox College Sports to cover Big 12 College Football on the sidelines. I convinced my bosses to let me use this new social media tool called Twitter to interact with fans and answer their questions. After my first report, I checked my phone to see what people were asking.

“Your scarf is hideous.”
“What’s wrong with your eyebrows.”
“You’d be a 10 if you got a boob job.”
“You’re the worst sideline reporter in history.”

Wait, what?

First of all, I didn’t ask. Second, I have weird eyebrows? Third, since when is a 50+ year old stranger telling a young woman that she should get surgery to visually please him not incredibly creepy and perverted? Fourth, at least things can only go up from here…?

Since then, I’ve read what’s wrong with just about every part of my body. My skin is bad, my hair is gross, my nose is too big, my eyebrows are (still) too thick, my legs are too skinny, my lip is weird (a scar from a childhood accident), and yes, my boobs are still holding me back from my true potential.

Consider the source, my dad says. Just ignore it, well-intentioned Twitter followers tell me. They’re all wrong, my mom cries. Want me to hurt someone, my sister asks.

It doesn’t matter how many positive things are said, the constant reminders of what’s wrong with me… you know, the things God missed, forgot about, or didn’t like me enough to include are what continue to linger.

I’ve considered a daunting possibility. What if they’re right? An old friend and colleague, Aaron Taylor, once told me that people can only hurt your feelings in areas you’re already insecure. Does a tall guy care if someone calls him short?

I’ve come to realize that most of the things that bother me have bits of truth to them.

C.S. Lewis said, “By mixing a little truth with it, they made their lie far stronger.”

Here’s the lie: that our worth as humans is dependent on what any other human says, does or thinks. That a hyper-sexualized culture of men addicted to the entanglement of pornography and objectification and the women trying hopelessly to please those men by altering their bodies and therefore their minds, should have any say about the true value of a human soul.

Twitter (and social media in general) is a breeding ground for those lies. We do our best to put our best foot forward, comparing our foot with other people’s feet, internally wondering who’s foot is better and what everyone else thinks about my foot. All the while, forgetting, these are feet we’re talking about!

In essence, we are slowly but surely trying to become the same person. Someone everyone likes, finds attractive, smart and funny. Like high school, we’re trying to fit in and have those we give power to deem us acceptable, enough. Thus, the roller coaster. Good days and bad days dictated by the affirmation or rejection of peers and now, even strangers. We let broken people (all patched up on the outside) tell us how broken we are.

For reasons I still don’t fully understand, I was able to experience relative career success at a very early age. I got to see what it’s like to be around the “merchants of cool”… an up close look at the people we give power to. The beautiful, the rich, the supremely talented. Here’s what you should know: everybody is broken. The people you think have it all together, don’t. The most externally beautiful girls are often the most insecure. The man who exudes confidence and machismo is often consumed by doubts and fears. Also, the Twitter or Instagram picture someone looks “so perfect” in was probably one of thirty attempts before photoshop and a filter.

Two main things have helped me navigate through the weeds: acknowledging my flaws/inadequacies and encouraging other people. Humility can be a tough pill to swallow but it is reality. If pride comes before the fall, I’m guessing confidence follows humility. It’s hard to be confidently humble when you’re constantly trying to be someone everyone else says you should be. That is vanity.

What if our leaders and influencers were confident but humble, secure in their differences and flaws, but sure of their significance and value?

“Welcome Prince,” said Aslan. “Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”
“I- I don’t think I do, Sir,” said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”
“Good,” said Aslan. “If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.”
(C.S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia)

Humble confidence may not get you thousands of Twitter followers, but trust me when I say, it’s overrated anyway.



  1. says

    Sam, this is one of the most insightful posts on social media, and it’s impact, that I have ever read. you are one of the special ones. keep doing what you’re doing and keep putting truth out on these internets. hope to meet you one day and give you a high five (as if that’s not totally dorky). but whatever, it’s who I am. 🙂 thanks for the words of wisdom.

    “What if our leaders and influencers were confident but humble, secure in their differences and flaws, but sure of their significance and value?” (brilliant question…I think we would be unstoppable.)

    • doug says

      Be yourself and stay in prayer and read your Bible. Keep that relationship with Jesus strong. I tell him first thing in the morning, “I love you Jesus”. Let the Spirit of the Lord guide you to who to speak and who not to speak to. The rest is just laughable. Offense is a guarantee of being a Christian. It is called, “bait of satan”, don’t fall for it!! If you pick up that offense then it becomes yours. How to put it back down. One ask forgiveness for the ill will or anger towards those you hurt you and then forgive those same people. Here is a wonderful exercise. Ask the Lord for all the people that have offended you in your life and do the same two steps, ask forgiveness for yourself and then forgive. The Lord will bring to your mind all those people you hold grudges whither you know it or not. Each offense in your life is like a hook pulling you in a negative way and once the barb of that hook is removed your spirit will swing more in line with what God originally wanted for you. Sometimes scars have to be cut open to get the barbs out. Remember who died for you. God’s Riches at Christ Expense = Grace!!

  2. Nicole says

    Thank you for such a beautifully written, heartfelt post! As a new mom of two sweet little girls I am encouraged by this! My hearts desire as a mother is to guide their hearts toward finding God’s will for their lives. In today’s world it can easily be discouraging, especially by much of what you talked about. The pressure never ends and as humans we are all flawed but most importantly made new in Christ if we put our trust in Him. I am thankful for a God who loves me just as I am and in Him alone do I place my confidence. You are a beautiful woman and such a blessing to many you may not even know. Thank you again for your heart felt article. You certainly have touched mine 🙂
    God bless you!
    Nicole Ward

  3. Megan says

    This is great! You’re so right, it doesn’t really matter what others think of you & comparing yourself to others will never bring anything but heartbreak. I want you to know that I’m praying for you on a daily basis! I hope to be a sports writer/reporter someday & I’m planning to go to Liberty University. So, I basically want to follow in your footsteps. You’re definitely one of my biggest role models! Thank you for being such a great example for people like me. Maybe one day we can meet in person!
    ~Megan Davis

  4. Marci says

    Very we’ll said (written)…so refreshing for someone in your position of influence to just be real. As a 31 year old Christian female business professional, I’m encouraged by your words. Famous or not, we all struggle with insecurities and trying to find our place-where we really belong. Thank you for taking a stand. Society today is so afraid to take a stand…so afraid to offend…and here you are, exposing your thoughts & beliefs, despite any future backlash that might occur. I applaud you Sam. Your calling in life is so much bigger than professional sports. You have just encouraged this Aggie to keep on keeping on! 🙂 God continue to bless you…

  5. Aura says

    Don’t let the negativity bring you down! I was so upset I missed meeting you at the FSU/Clemson game (I’m a Nole!) but maybe next time you are in Tallahassee I will get the chance. I follow you on IG bc I use Twitter only now and then and you seem like such a sweet person. I thought you and CP eating Arby’s after getting married was the most hilarious and adorable thing. Stay humble and sweet!! Also, I’m hoping a little bun in the oven comes soon haha sorry can’t help it

  6. Linda Carol Trotter says

    Sam, awesome post. You are dead-on, 100% correct. I tell my Baylor freshman daughter that as long as you’re comfortable in your own skin, it doesn’t matter what other people think or say. Be true to yourself and you are light-years ahead of those who would tear you down. Thanks for being a great role model for young women everywhere!

  7. Danielle Gentry says

    Just a simple thank you. Thank you on behalf of all women. P.S. You are beautiful and flawless to me and your personality, even more beautiful 🙂

  8. Wayne says

    I appreciate your Christian stand and I want to follow you whatever you do. Great job, keep doing what you have been doing and you will be blessed.

  9. Jay says

    Great message, I’m going to share the high points with my sophome history class. Stop by Liberty HS in Frisco, TX next time your in Dallas to tell the school yourself.

  10. says

    You are a beautiful young lady and wise beyond your years I went to college with your folks I played intramural football against your dad and thought the world of your mom and her friends when they transferred to our college. I’m currently a fireman in Irving Texas with a Jay Taylor. He refs some if the games you cover. You are a role model for young women. Your folks did agreat job.

  11. Jordan Feinauer says

    I have twin sisters who struggle immensely with self confidence and self worth. Your article perfectly summed up what I have been telling them for years. I just sent it to them. Thanks for using your position to help make others better.
    -Jordan Feinauer

  12. Melissa says

    You should be sick more often so you have more time to write 🙂 Very well said! You handle the haters better than anyone I’ve seen.

  13. ForeBarca1899 says

    I will book mark this post, and have my students in my Leadership Class read it. Thanks Miss Ponder for a good piece on leadership, humility, and being human.

  14. Kevin says

    Thanks for sharing Sam. It inspired some healthy reflection about what it means to be confident, but humble, and how we should treat others. Taking the time to share your thoughts has inspired me to listen better and differently to the stories of the people closest to me. Thank you

  15. Harry Ortlinghaus says

    That was very well written Sam. Very truthful and on point with the whole bullying that is going on now. That is cool you were a tomboy growing up I find that really cool. I love tomboys. You did a great job with the article and seemed to out your heart into it. Keep up the good work.

  16. Charles Boyer says

    Ms. Ponder – as a person working in major media, I almost feel sorry for you, given what you have to endure. You are correct in that it is always “creepy” for some fifty-something somewhere to make comments about your worth based on your appearance. I suppose that some people were taught social graces when they were young, or maybe they lost them after they became adults.

    No matter, there are fifty-somethings like me as well — folks who rate you on the quality of your work. We don’ leer at our television screens, nor would would some of the comments ever cross our minds, much less our Twitter accounts.

  17. Tom Beinborn says

    As a Dad with two daughters, I’m making sure they both read this. It is rough not taking on those people, but you know you have to look the other way. But I wish just some time, we could do what your sister wants to do.
    Best of luck

  18. Lauren says

    Hey Sam, I am a sportscaster for the CBS affiliate in Buffalo. I just read your post and there is so much truth to it. The irony is every time I watch you I think to myself, “Ugh I wish I had her voice.”

    Anyways, It’s easy to judge, create opinions and critique from afar. At the end of the day, it is about making the most of what you got and impressing yourself! I came across this great quote the other day that you will appreciate.

    “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    Keep doing your thing! I am sure our paths will cross eventually.

    • maddie (: says

      As a teenager.. reading this really inspired me. It touched my heart.

      I have recently written you a letter and I would love to hear back from you. I hope to be just like you when I grow up! Being a college football reporter is my dream job.

      You’re my role model!

  19. says

    This is a great post. You’re full of insight and I’m glad I was able to learn more about the “pretty female sports anchor” I enjoy watching. I’m an aspiring sports reporter as well (currently finishing my senior year in college) and I’ve heard it’s a brutal world in the public spotlight. I welcome criticism, but taking it all the time has to be difficult. I admire your toughness and appreciate the great advice you’ve given your audience. Everyone faces challenges and sometimes it is difficult to see past a pretty smile. Thanks for shedding some light on these issues, personalizing them, and offering your admonition. You’re very bright and inspiring. Thank you.

  20. Bryant says

    I didn’t know you that well but I saw your website posted on Facebook. I read your Examineing Twitter article, which I agree with, then googled you. I have nothing else to saw but your beautiful and how could anyone else say different. As a fellow girl I know sometimes there can be a lot of pressure to look good but the key is be yourself and you’ll always be beautiful!

  21. melissa noble says

    Wow! Sam! Thanks for sharing all that! Learned a lot about you and the confidence of life. i appreciate you. Especially loved the ending.”Humble confidence may not get you thousands of Twitter followers…” God bless.

  22. Chattels stuckey says

    That was a great read. Such admiration I have for you. If you can get one person to take something out of this, it’s a win. Stay positive in your everyday approach. Nothing can hold you down.

  23. says

    Very well said!!! I just forwarded this to the 4 women in my life, 3 girls and their mom. Thanks for sharing. May God continue to bless you, your family, your career going forward. Btw, congratulations on marrying a Texas bred quarterback. 😉

  24. Samantha says

    Very well written. Thank you for being a positive role model for young women. You portray beauty inside and out 🙂

  25. Matt says

    Beautifully written and well thought, definitely hit the nail on the head about social media and society…I think you do a great job and enjoy listening to your sideline reports.

  26. Maggie says

    I love this post. I have always loved the way you carry yourself and the truth in which you live. The only thing I don’t love about you is that you have the job I will never have, but want 🙂

    Thank you for being honest, real, and above all, yourself. You prove each and every week that you are intelligent and hard working, and as women, that’s what we should strive for. Not bigger boobs or skinny eyebrows. The fact that you are open about being a God loving woman, is just icing on the cake.

    Don’t let dumb people make you question you.

  27. Sharlene says

    You said it all so well. Thank you. It’s taken me almost 70 years to realize what I knew all along. You’re right.

  28. Keith Hudgins says

    I’m a 53 year old male that thinks you’re a terrific role model for my 20 year old daughter. She was so happy to see you move to a more visible role on ESPN. I’m going to make sure she sees your blog (bet she already has!). We both enjoy your funny tweets. Best of luck and keep ignoring those voices. You’re dad is right on the money!! (Oh, and go Clemson Tigers!)

  29. Andy says

    Very well written, impressive skills. Honestly, if I were you, I’d get off Twitter. While enjoyable and useful at times, I can’t imagine how much it drags down prominent people. You do a good job, period. Anonymity breeds negative comments. Listen to your bosses, not random idiots. And keep writing, seriously, you’re very good.

  30. Kendal Connor says

    Very well written article. We need to be more concerned as to how Godvsees us than how men demean us, keep up the good work.

  31. Bruce says

    This was refreshing, especially for a young husband and dad who thinks about who thinks about society and the pressures thereof as our children grow.

  32. Tom says

    Great job, Sam. Proud of you for writing the above piece. I think you do a fabulous job on TV (that’s the only place I see you). I cannot even imagine the garbage you receive through Twitter and/or other social media sites.

    I typically do not write or reply on social media, but after I read your piece, I decided to be one of the positive people in your social media life, one who appreciates without criticizing. There are a lot of crazies out there, and unfortunately, I’m quite sure a good percentage of them have found you. But YOU have the power of the DELETE button and the BLOCK button; use them, Sam! Often!

    You seem to have a great professional life (looks like a helluva lot of fun, too), plus you’re married to an NFL quarterback (who seems like a great guy; don’t know him personally), and your parents seem to have raised you correctly, so you have a lot going for you, which is admirable, and unfortunately in today’s world, that brings about a ton of jealous people. Just ignore them.

    Keep up the great work. And, keep your chin up (that’s what I tell my children and my friends when they are feeling down or inadequate).

    Look forward to seeing and hearing you on Saturday morning(s).

  33. Greg Wesh says

    Really insightful and on target piece. My only addition would be that just as you say that often the most good looking and macho men are the most insecure, that can often stem from a culture of women who are in my humble opinion just as hyper-sexualized as men. I don’t believe it is a phenomenon constricted to a particular gender but instead an overarching cultural issue.

  34. Bob says

    Wow… I’m blown away… Excellent post Sam.
    I may have to print it to share it with my kids (And refer back to when my ego gets the best of me.)
    Thank you.

  35. Kevin H. says

    What a great post, Sam. It’s amazing to me how cruel people can be through social media. These same people would never dream of saying such horrible things to your face. So in addition to being cruel, these folks are just plain cowards. My dad always told me to never say something behind a person’s back that you wouldn’t be willing to say to his/her face. And for the record, your eyebrows are lovely.

  36. roboknight says

    “We let broken people… tell us how broken we are.”
    Worse yet, those people are allowed to do so anonymously. I believe there was a time that might have been deemed cowardice. I want to know where the women like you hang out. When my daughter gets old enough, I want to make sure she hangs around like-minded folk. Especially in this day and age when a young girl can be pressured into suicide from a few poorly chosen words from “broken people”.

  37. says


    I’m a senior at Penn State but grew up a huge Texas fan and I’m a University of Texas-reject but that being that fan allowed me to discover you at the Longhorn Network. The first thing I noticed wasn’t any flaws but how awesome that person the screen seemed to be.

    I share so many feelings in this post and putting it into the words that you did was a major service to a lot of people and a perspective that hopefully motivates and inspires others.

    Well done as always Sam!

    Hope you and CP are well, if you remember me telling you on Twitter, CP was the college football player I ever met, and you better believe I have a Vikings #7 jersey.


  38. Ann Moe says

    Thank you, Sam. You said it best – all of this! Thank you for being who you are and remembering WHOSE you are. You’re a great example and role model! Thanks for bring true to who you are. This really hit me today: C.S. Lewis said, “By mixing a little truth with it, they made their lie far stronger.” I am grateful to know the Truth and to see you living that out in a public spot light. Thank you for the encouragement today! Keep being a light out there and the P31 woman that you are!

  39. says

    Sam, Im so excited you wrote this. Number one because I agree but number two because, as a young Christian wife I have wanted to thank you for a long time. We watch you on ESPN all the time. So many woman in your position buy into all of the talk and get the boob jobs and wear the revealing clothes. When you are on our TV screen in our living room I am confident that I don’t have to worry about what you will wear or how you will act in front of my husband. The insecurities go so much deeper than just what we look like. They threaten how we feel about other women too and I want to thank you so so much for standing your ground and being a sweet beautiful woman that I can trust. It really means so much to me!

  40. says

    LOVED this. Not that you needed to hear that – putting security in God before blog comments and twitter followers. Thanks for the reminder and SO EXCITED that you started a blog!

  41. says

    Thank you so much for having the heart to post this. It is something I have struggled with so much in my life… caring what other people think about me, living my life to please others, and constantly feeling as though I am an endless disappointment to them. To be introduced to someone like you… beautiful, successful, smart, well-spoken, etc, etc and realize that even you can’t please everyone… well it just further cements the idea that we aren’t SUPPOSED to be doing that. Thank you, thank you. I don’t think you know how much your words have helped me.

  42. Heather says

    I will be sharing with my 14 year old daughter. This has to be the most important rule of growing up these days. For her to hear it from someone else will be awesome. I don’t think it ever means the same coming from a parent. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an amazing role model for young children and adults. Keep the faith you are wonderful, inside and out.

  43. Helene says

    This is a very insightful and compelling article and I appreciate and am thankful that you wrote it. I was told something many years ago and it is this, “no one, not even the devil, can steal your joy; however, you can choose to give it away.” Now I know that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but there are somethings that when God gives it to us, the enemy cannot steal it but we can choose to give it to him. I appreciate that you have chosen to keep what God has given you, confidence in who God created you to be, strength to stand when it seems others around you want you to conform, understanding that there is more to life than the superficial, and peace in knowing who you are and who you have been called to be. May God so richly bless you as you continue on the life path that you walk.

  44. Lauren says

    Sam this is so beautiful…if you would be so kind as to shoot me an email I have a question for you!

    God bless and never change that beautiful spirit!


  45. says

    Where is the follow button?! I really needed to hear this. A few weeks ago, one of my close friends said something about my weight that really hurt me, and I have been secretly working out ever since. I know it is good that I do it, but I need to be in shape for ME, and because God wants me to be healthy, not for anyone else.

  46. Chuck Guillory says

    Not trying to hate or be political or anything like that but, I personally believe Fox Cable channels in general hire good looking women to exploit in order to retain viewer retention. Fox News has mostly really good looking women who wear extremely short skirts and have tans. That’s why I really don’t think they are any more moral or Christian than liberal news media channels. Anyway, glad to see you speak out for the value and respect of women. God bless.

  47. Rachel says

    Well said, if everyone realized that we live in a broken society a lot more people would start feeling better about themselves instead of trying to look or be like the woman or man on a magazine cover.
    99% of people don’t look like the perfect person but 95% of people try to make themselves better by going through surgery, losing weight, changing themselves to fit the quote unquote status quo when in reality each person has a 10% of ever fitting into the perfect status quo and should stop trying and just be okay with who they are.
    Like you said humility is a hard pill to swallow so people try to make themselves overly confident instead of perfectly humble. just saying. Well written article.

  48. Michelle Kinyon says


    Although I did not know you well, I have always thought you to be “perfect”. You have always been intelligent, well spoken, beautiful, fun and very humble. What you have written, above, has so much truth poured into it. There are so many that needed to read this, including myself. God made each and every one of us exactly the way He intended. Thank you for opening up and sharing with us.

  49. Ann says

    Dear Sam – I hope you are lifted up by all these comments. I have two sons but have recommended that all my “friends of girls” read this post. So important in today’s world. Thank you for posting. My sons will also benefit.

  50. says

    I could hardly read through my happy tears. Best thing I’ve read in a very long time. *bows head and thanks you* for sharing, saying, proclaiming, and reminding us that we are not the 30th picture we take of ourselves…we are all of the pictures, the insecure ones and the best ones.

  51. Sandra says

    Right on! There must be something to the name “Sam” because our daughter, also named “Sam” is very independent. I remember when she was in high school she would dress different and began noticing other girls copying her. She wanted to stand out as different and didn’t care what others thought about her appearance….even when another girl dressed as “that Christian girl” for halloween one year. Now through her job she gets to help raise awareness in her community of how we objectify women. Keep up the good work Sam.

  52. Kathy DeGiulio says

    Thank you so much for your valuable words. Your timing is perfect for my 23 year old daughter who is beginning a career in your field. She just landed her first show with an NBA team and received similar comments after putting her talented and beautiful self out there for public scrutiny. She sent me your article saying it was excellent advice for her. As a mother of a young woman whose brains match her beauty it is difficult to see the choices so many of her peers make to fit into our messed up society. With role models like you I’m hopeful that my daughter can maintain the confidence established in her youth, rejecting the social media approval game and continue to gain the strength, maturity and humility needed to succeed in life.

  53. says

    Thanks so much for these timely words of wisdom! I think you’re spot on – and kudos to you for looking inside yourself, identifying the truth, and finding the response that’s right for you and using that to help others, too!

    Very wise and sage advice – and excellent commentary on the entire social media phenomenon. Sometimes it’s too easy to lose our perspective…thanks for sharing your journey to “reboot” yours!

    All the best to you!

  54. Heather says

    Sam, I am a college student and are constantly surrounded by competition amongst girls in class, my major, and in the “college life”. I am guilty of comparing my lives to others, and your post has inspired me and encouraged me to look beyond that, because like you said and your father said, “we will never get where we want to be if we spend our lives measuring ourselves”. You are such an inspiration to me and ALL WOMEN OF ALL AGES and I look forward to reading your future posts and seeing you on Gameday! Thank you for writing this, and most importantly, BEING YOU.

  55. Molly says

    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share, Sam! Your words are super encouraging on a topic that is a struggle in the world today. God has given you, and all of us, a specific role perfect for us and it is encouraging to see you use your platform to honor Him. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  56. says

    As a father of 4 daughters, ages 23 – 31, I know how hard it is to not be consumed with the comparison game, and be on that roller coaster of obsessive acceptance and rejection mind games.
    Thanks for the great article and the insights. You just went way up in my ‘who I pay attention to’ list!

  57. Clint Mahan says

    Loved the truth about where our identity and security truly comes from and your zeal to live life freely as Christ made us to live.
    I have done several youth camps in Harare and Bulawayo and love the children and culture there. I also was just in the Middle East and more specifically Israel as well and met with a few coaches and people in the Israeli Football League and would enjoy connecting with your father and coach if possible. Thanks and God Bless, Clint

  58. says

    Your dad is awesome. I’m so going to say that to my daughter when she gets to her teen years (turns 5 next year). Albeit very blunt, it probably saved you from slipping into more of a self conscience attitude which too many girls suffer from.

    On a side note, men are also becoming objectified of late. I’ve noticed many young men feel they have to work out and have perfectly ripped torso with only 3% body fat to fit in, or feel attractive.

  59. Beverly says

    Sam, this is spot on. I’ve been speaking to women for years about matters of self-esteem and self-worth. Would you mind if I quote a bit of this next time I do? I’d like to include a link to this article for some of them too. Thank you for sharing your insight. (And I don’t think your eyebrows are too heavy at all.)

  60. Lisa says

    You know there are people (I’ll say women) who were/are insecure most of their lives. I for one was (am still a bit) VERY insecure, where I grew up my brother and I and maybe a couple of other kids were the only minorities in our small town which made for a very lonely childhood. I am SO thankful that we didn’t have all of this “social media” back then. But even these days there still are girls who let this get to them, you laid it all out so well and kudos to your dad for instilling in you the confidence that you needed and carry with you today. I didn’t get that, I have to say though I don’t “put myself” out there to be made fun of, or ridiculed I’m not really into FB or Twitter, I admit I look but I don’t post, It’s not really my thing. I used to care so much what people thought of me, but now that I’m older and much more wiser I don’t give a rats ass what they think, something is wrong with them that is why they lash out at other people.
    Thank you for your post, I hope everyone has a chance to read it!!

  61. says

    I stumbled upon this post after clicking through from another blog post discussing self-esteem and was touched by it. I especially loved your dad’s advice. You don’t have to be the smartest or prettiest to be worthwhile…you just have to be you. I got about halfway through your post before realizing that you look really familiar. I grew up in Arizona and attended the Biltmore Nazarene church and I think we may have attended together? What a small world!

  62. Nicole says

    Someone posted a link to your article on Facebook. I clicked on in it and started reading. No doubt, wonderful, even exceptional post. I am going to print it out for my 13-year old daughter to read.
    But then I checked who you are. This is now more difficult to put in perspective (or judge?). People will never judge like a Lady Justitia (blindfolded). Whether one should judge at all is another question (look at opening paragraph of the Great Gatsby or the Bible). Folks look at the circumstances (Joshua Bell playing unrecognized his Stradivari violin at a DC subway station), or your appearance. It is a fact that beautiful woman and tall guys earn significantly more than their not so good-looking or shorter peers (we even elect presidents based on appearance). It is not right! Darn these cognitive biases. It is holding us back. But sometimes, the beautiful or tall person really does a great job. He or she sees it every paycheck, in the family around her, and hopefully she or he gained inner peace/happiness for the professional, meaningful accomplishments. These people should be the first to repel any distracting, offensive twitter post. So I really struggle to see where you are coming from in the end? Are you stating the obvious that Twitter is “lending a voice for pigs”? It now seems that you pull attention to yourself and your looks and your doubts about it. Is your dad OK with this? What did he say? He and your friends advice not to pay attention to this! Please, use your inner compass. Nobody on Earth gets judged fairly. Therefore, there is a God. Blessed are those with faith and a grasp on the big picture.
    But wait, am I falling in a trap, too? I now judge you as I predict what a pertinent reaction in this situation should be (to keep quiet and have faith). But yes, in the end it’s good when “celebrities” point out injustice. If we want to move forward to a better, fairer society, this is a good post.

  63. says

    Beautiful post and great reminder we are who GOD and God alone made us! He determines our worth and his determination is that we’re to die for!
    I’m a die hard Kansas State fan, so as soon as I read Big 12, my first thoughts were “oh what a blessed girl”! LOL
    May you hear 1000 more of God’s truths over the lies Satan tells you, today.

  64. Scott says

    Insightful and inspirational article. I have 4 daughters and I have shared with them your words. I have tried to convey to them for a while this message, unfortunately I am not as good at explaining these things as you and your Dad are. Thank you!

  65. says

    Thank you for this post. They must not know. Psalm 139:14 NIV

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

    He made you therefore you need nothing more added or taken away. (Just so you know I don’t see anything wrong with your eyebrows!)

  66. Romans8 says

    Excellent post! I think we can all relate. It is comforting to know that even beautiful, successful people like you feel insecure sometimes. (Just think how challenging it can be for those of us who didn’t have the firm foundation of love from family that you had.) I have come to understand that caring what other people think is essentially a form of idolatry. It sure can be hard, though, to remember that the only thing that matters is what God thinks and says about us! I like Romans 8:31-34: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” And just so you know, you are stunningly beautiful! You have a lot of wonderful gifts and talents to offer the world. Praying for you and your hub!

  67. says


    The key to good writing is to put enough of yourself out there to have your audience identify with you on a personal level – you nailed that here. This post isn’t about Twitter, it is about all of us.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  68. annie says

    incredibly spoken, sam. with this, you have gained respect and love and grace from those that take away from the spoken words you have let Him speak through you. thank you for opening your heart to us.

  69. Moshe Peres says

    You are perfect just the way you were then, are now, and in whatever form the natural course of time will grace upon you. Yours is a precious soul that illuminates your preternatural beauty.

    Here’s the truth: you are a highly intelligent woman who applies, and is conversant with, the values and morals that will uplift anyone, from any background, and catapult them to any station in life they wish. More importantly, those values will preserve their dignity and shelter loved ones from society’s impalpable dangers.

    Here’s some more irrefutable truth, in you employers get professionalism, dependability, poise, decorum, and ever-increasing qualifications.

    In regard to worrying about insecurities, it is not a female issue when men cannot meet their obligations of intimacy because their lady fluctuates over or under a specific size and/or measurement. Women gift man with companionship, family, and intimacy. Whether slim or Rubenesque, women are built to attract and have plethoric ways (intentional/unintentional) to achieve it. For that reason men should not objectify women, but rather constantly stand guard against nature.

    While I fully agree with your contextual usage of the quote, until the appearance of a relevant instance, I have to deviate from C.S. Lewis’ statement on truth mixture. For the concept is pertinent to fulfilling the desires of individuals intent on assimilation. In actuality, when groups with opposing worldviews and inclinations mix it will inevitably cause an erosion of one of the group’s customs. Bad habits are so difficult to break, but facilely adopted when their consequential gravity and imminence are unnoticeable. Meanwhile, abstemiousness is arduous, engulfing, and continuous; therefore, those with lower standards/habits will prevail and take the more influential role.

    Remain strong, for you are the one with innumerable gifts to offer those only capable of issuing gratuitous criticism. And, while they cannot teach you anything, they do supply the opportunity to extricate them from bitterness. However, you should not make the effort because social work is a full-time job and you should maintain your focus and consistency with the exceptional work we’re accustomed to.

    Everything I have said is nothing new to you. In fact, they are more than sparks of wisdom you’ve already deduced and expressed and continue to ruminate, but are too pestered and occupied, with professional ascendancy, to compartmentalize.

    Additionally, I know the reasons for your immediate professional accomplishments and declare that they are attributable to your success in becoming an amazing human being. In truth, you too may easily discern how you became the inspiring woman you are merely by consulting your memory. It is made evident by your character, kindness, and sweetness that it was a lifelong parental/familial effort to instill you with the values, knowledge, and work ethic that now serves to distinguish you.

    While the causes for writing your article are undesirable, attending to this nuisance will assist you in attaining more wisdom and a more profound appreciation for your parents who provided you with superfluous love, sagacious instruction, and careful guidance. And, they did it all without expectation of reciprocity because they love you unconditionally.

  70. Bruce says

    I didn’t think I could be any more prouder of you than I already am, but your article reminded me of our conversations in my office prior to our television games where we just talked, laughed and had a great time. Keep loving God and being a witness for him and know that you will forever have a place on my crew here at Liberty.

  71. Robin says

    Beautifully written! I have shared this on Twitter and Facebook and I will be printing this to give to my daughter and daughter-in-law to be shared with my grandchildren! Thank you!

  72. Kelly Gordon-Meyer says

    Beautifully written thoughts. As a mom to 2 young daughters I struggle every day trying to figure out what I can do to lessen those “bumps” in the road of growing up. If there is anything I wish for them is to have self confidence and know how to let the hurtful things others say just roll off of them – but that is skill hard for adults to even accomplish (even their mom). Your dad gave you wonderful advice – so true in every aspect. Thanks for the insight.

  73. Billy says

    Thanks Samantha. This is something I have wanted to communicate to my daughter for quite some time. As an African-American computer scientist, I must say that this is the most insightful commentary on social media that I have ever read. Perhaps, I am biased on this because this is exactly how I feel about all the negativities and insults that are churned out in sports, entertainment and politics on a daily basis.

    I am generally a read-once-and-move-on person for most blog posts but I had to re-read this. My daughter will definitely be mad at you! I am making this mandatory reading for her. She will give me an oral summary of this article after she has done so. I will also ask her to recount any incidence at school that this post jolts in her mind.

    My hope is that she neither engages in sending out tweets, instagram messages, Facebook posts, etc telling people about how ‘inadequate’ they are nor pay any attention to people whose life goal, it would seem, is to remind others of their inadequacies, real or imagined.

    It is nice knowing that there are still many really great people on TV and in this world. Continued success in whatever you do.

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