It was a full house in Pruis Hall on Monday night as hundreds gathered to hear Tamika Catchings, WNBA player for the Indiana Fever, speak on her experiences of overcoming adversity.
"I still struggle sometimes and think, ‘Why did God make me so different than everyone else?'" she told the audience.
Catchings was born with a hearing disability and speech impediment. She said she didn't want that to define who she is, though.
"I want to be known as Tamika, not Tamika with a hearing aid," she said.
Catchings opened the speech by asking those in the crowd who wore glasses, contacts, a hearing aid, were in a wheelchair, had a hearing problem, had ever been bullied or bullied someone and anyone who had any other type of disability to raise their hands. Hands flew up throughout the room.
"We all have a lot in common," she said.
Catchings said although the WNBA might not be as popular as the NBA, when people come to see the Indiana Fever play, she makes sure that they want to come back.
"I make sure they are going to remember No. 24," she said.
The 6-foot-1 All-Star forward captured the audience through her inspirational stories, upbeat personality and sense of humor.
"Tamika has been a joy to listen to because she has been so charismatic and passionate," junior communications studies major Elizabeth Whited said.
Passion was a common theme throughout the speech for Catchings.
"You have got to be passionate about what you're doing, there is nothing worse than being led by someone with no passion," she said. "You have got to be excited about what you do, I love what I do."