Ivy's Insights: Helping youth embrace rocky moments on their journey
By Greg Bach
Ivy Pochoda’s journey from the squash courts of her Brooklyn youth to becoming a four-time All-American at Harvard and a world-ranked player was filled with setbacks and failures along the way.
But all those disappointments were incredibly valuable in her development.
And she’s grateful to have experienced every single one of them.
It’s one of the many powerful messages she hopes readers latch onto in EPOCA: The River of Sand, her collaboration with the late Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa.
“I wanted every kid, athlete or not, to understand that there will be difficulties and bumps in the road, but embracing these instead of fearing them will help you succeed,” says Pochoda, who writes under the name Ivy Claire. “We shouldn’t fear or shy from difficulties, even though they may seem daunting. And more importantly, everyone is capable of personal greatness. How this manifests is different from person to person, but success is the right of each and every kid!”
This book is a follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof, also written by Pochoda and created by Bryant, that continues a story of overcoming adversity, the power of teamwork, and the decisions that have to be made on the path of self-discovery.
Check out what Pochoda shared about her most recent book and having the chance to work with Bryant before his tragic death in a helicopter crash last year that also claimed the lives of his daughter Gianna and seven others.
SPORTINGKID LIVE: What are some of the key themes woven into the story that you and Kobe wanted to feature?
POCHODA: There’s a major undercurrent of growth and acknowledging and discovering your own strength. This is a different journey for everyone. We also really wanted to address the different ways kids get frustrated and how they must learn to overcome their own frustrations. One character is always down on herself for a bad performance. Another shies away from working hard. A third is scared to give it her all. Once each character is made to see where he or she falls short, only then can they move forward. We also wanted to examine the fact that kids are often faced with difficult choices but are more capable of making those choices than adults allow.
SPORTINGKID LIVE: What was the experience like working with Vanessa to finish this and how important was this project to her?
POCHODA: It was powerful. She was in the midst of such a difficult period and still she knew that in order to honor Kobe’s legacy and his wishes she would need to get involved. She was super professional and savvy and really helped us complete the series in two books instead of the planned four.
SPORTINGKID LIVE: How special was your time working with Kobe and what are you most proud of regarding the books?
POCHODA: The vision of these books is extraordinary. It’s unique and passionate and the scope is masterful. I’m so thrilled to have had the opportunity to unite my love of sports and fiction and adventure and doing it with Kobe was the ride of a lifetime.
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Ryan Gareis, former University of South Carolina standout and current forward for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League, on bringing energy, enthusiasm and a team-first mentality at all times
Orlando Pride midfielder Chelsee Washington, founder of 90/10 Performance Co., on helping young players manage mindsets and build confidence from within to perform at their best
Erica Suter, former soccer standout at Johns Hopkins University and author of THE STRONG FEMALE ATHLETE, on helping female athletes enhance confidence, reduce injuries, and boost performance