“What is the point in even trying? They are a stronger team than us,” Joe, our outside hitter, says. We found out we had to face Racine Horlick in the first round of playoffs at The Racine tournament. This was the furthest Arrowhead Boy’s Volleyball had made it in five years. “Come on, Joe. Don’t think like that,” I say as we walked over to our bench. As team captain, it is my job to make sure everyone stays positive with their head in the game. “They are ranked eleventh in the state and they play amazing defense. How could we possibly beat them?” Joe asks. “Joe, have you ever seen them play? You cannot count us out before the match even starts.” I knew they were a good team, but they were beatable. The match was about to begin and our coach calls us in to the huddle. “Guys, we have come a long way to get to this point and I am proud of you. Horlick is a strong team and they dominated their pool. I won’t be disappointed if we lose, so just go out there and play your game.” The team has given up. They assume we are weaker and are going to lose. As we walk onto the court, I call the team in for a huddle. I tell them if we play our game, we can win. The referee signals our first server to start the game. He sends the ball over the net and they spike it in our faces. Our guys were sure the match was over. “It is only one point and we can still win this match. We just have to keep our heads up and play strong,” I said. Racine shanks their passes and hits balls into the net while our team is getting one on one blocks and bouncing the ball. We take the lead and, in frustration, the opposing coach calls a timeout. In the huddle, our coach says we have a shot at winning. The first game comes to an end and we won. The second game starts and we rattle off eight straight points. We finish the match and defeat them 17 to 25. As a team, we overcame our disadvantage and fear of losing. I too learned a lot from this match. With leadership and determination, anything is possible.
December 2, 2009