November 6, 2007
By Jasmine Richard, Houston, TX

“But Mom, why don’t you just believe in me?” I whined.
“Darling, why would I waste my time coming to some stupid game when I already know that you can’t play?” Her face was like a wrecked car waiting to be repaired. Her nose was turned up and her lips folded to the side as if she was in a state of confusion.
“Mom, it would just be nice if, for once in your life, you could just be there for me.” My heart was shattered and my eyes filled with tears. I was discouraged, but strangely encouraged to prove her wrong. When she did come to my games, she would regret it and be extremely proud of me.
“I’ll just tell your grandma to come. Maybe she will be courteous enough to waste her time.”
“Yea…..sure….thanks for being such a great mother,” I smarted off.
I absolutely love the game of volleyball, but it was only fun if I had support from my family. I gave my all into being the best volleyball setter I could be. When my opponents would spike the ball, I would literally throw myself to the floor and dig it up. There was also one time when my teammate couldn’t save the ball and I had to tip it over the net. In practices, I worked twice as hard doing extra push-ups and frogs while everyone else only did just enough to get by. Even doing that never took away the pain of not having my family at those games. My heart would crumble at the sight of every other girl’s parents in the stands. Jessica’s mother and sisters were at every single game with signs, banners, and custom-made shirts with her picture on them.
“Jessica, I know you are so happy that your parents actually come out to see you play.”
“Yea, but I noticed that your mom is never here. What’s her deal?” Jessica understood a little more than I thought she would.
“Oh, my mom….she just….,” I stammered to find an excuse, “has a lot of other stuff to do. So she really doesn’t have time within her schedule to come.”
“Oh, ok. Well, maybe she will show up one day and surprise you. You never know.” Jessica tried to encourage me, but it really didn’t help.
The biggest game of the season was coming up and I really wanted my family-my mom in particular-to be at the game. I begged and begged for her to come, but as usual, she had some lame excuse.
“You can’t play, sweetie, so why would I waste my time?”
Again, I had to face the disappointment that my mommy wouldn’t be attending my game.
The game of the season was now only 2 hours away and my spirits were weeping like a child in unbearable pain. We enthusiastically jogged out to the game gymnasium to warm-up and I looked at the crowd. My eyes were filled with tears of joy because I saw my grandma sitting there with a huge smile of excitement on her face. My grandma never had a problem supporting me. She would sometimes wish me good luck before I went to school the morning before a game. She was always full of spunk and intensity. She had a heart of gold. That night I played as if there were college volleyball scouts in the stands. We hardly ever let that volleyball touch the gym floor. Even if it was a collaborated effort, the ball was sent back across the net with power. I had some amazing jump sets that night as well, so all of the taller girls could get a better hit. I made sure that my grandma would be proud of me that day. We won that game 25-9.
When my mom got home that night, my grandma went on and on about how wonderfully I played.
“You know Rena, it is such a shame how much you’ve missed out on your daughter’s volleyball games.”
“Mom, what are you talking about?” My mother had that same old look on her face when she told me that she didn’t want to come to my games.
“Jasmine played so well today. She set that ball to those girls and made sure that it never hit the floor.” My grandma’s face was lit up like a house on Christmas day as she explained to my mom how well I delivered my potential.
My mother’s nose began to turn red as if being sunburned. Her bottom lip was shaking. She had sad, puppy dog eyes. The expressions on my mother’s face showed how much she regretted not coming to my games. She looked over at me and began to cry tears of hurt and regret.
“Oh Jasmine, sweetie, I never meant to hurt you or underestimate your athletic potential. I promise you I will be at your next game.” Tears began to well up in my eyes because she sounded so sincere. I knew that more than anything, my next game would be a great one.
It was the last game of the season. We were down by 3 points in the first round. I looked at the crowd with fear in my heart because I thought that my mother would not be there. But to my surprise, she was sitting on the front row screaming and cheering for the team. It was as if she had been a team mom all along and, like me, she just needed a little encouragement from her mother.

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