Monday night was the first time in about a year that I played volleyball in a team setting. My mom took me with her to the sand volleyball courts where she plays in a league. Because of the heat, she thought her team could use an extra sub. What I found is that I really miss volleyball, but not the beating it gives me.
My mom put me on a volleyball team in fifth grade. Dad had been training me in basketball my whole life, playing with teams since third grade, but Mom didn’t want me to miss out on one of her favorite sports. I was already losing interest in softball, my gymnastics obsession had passed years before and Dad successfully traded my cheerleading ways for a basketball.
Anyway, I loved volleyball right away. Being shorter, Mom told me I was born to be a setter, so I wanted be the best setter I could. Throughout high school, I found myself being a voice on the court, always trying to talk. It was so natural to me that in some drills, I wouldn’t be allowed to talk so that others would. This trait came out again on Monday as I tried to talk my way through the game.
What cracked me up is that my mom does the same thing. In trying to be a supportive and encouraging teammate, we both end up being the cheerleader on the court. My mom is a great sports mom. I’ve had coaches say she’s their favorite fan because she’s a master of positive feedback. She doesn’t tear down, she builds up by pointing out what we’re doing right or that there’s a new play ahead of us.
My mom taught me a lot about volleyball, especially when it comes to finishing the play. A cardinal rule of the game is that you never stop playing until the ref blows the whistle. I learned this lesson a little too well; I don’t let the ball hit the ground without me doing everything I can to get to it. This often means throwing myself on the ground to pop the ball back up. In gyms, this meant getting floor burns. On Monday, this meant getting covered in sand.
Despite the sand and the soreness over the next two days, playing volleyball felt good. I miss it, I really do.