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A Practice Session for Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      Standing on the left side of the court, I hear the slap of the ball; it’s over the net. My teammates scream “Out!” and I stop in my tracks. We just scored the first point.

Volleyball is an amazing sport but it is often overshadowed by more well-known ones and as a result, most people do not know what can be learned from it. A point scored means much more than a simple point. That point is a sense of trust - my teammates called the ball out so I stopped immediately. In volleyball, there is no time to second-guess. Players have to develop a trusting bond and be sure their teammates will lead them in the right direction. Someone once said, “I am not afraid that my team will see my fears, my hopes, dreams, or desires. I trust them to an unlimited level.” These words can also be applied to daily life. You have to learn to trust others to help and guide you. In my opinion, there is no better way to prepare for life than volleyball.

I see the scoreboard change to 1-0. The six of us clap and cheer for each other as we hear the sidelines praise our play. Coming together to cheer shows our team unity. The lesson: don’t be jealous of others’ talents but congratulate them.

It is our serve. My teammate dribbles the ball until the referee blows the whistle. She throws the ball into the air and swings at it with all her might but the ball hits the net, falling back onto our side. The score is now 1-1. She steps back onto the court as we say “Nice try.” And we’re ready for the next play.

Although we do not score, we still clap and congratulate the player. Volleyball, like life, is full of mistakes, but when we make them, we can’t complain and fall apart.

We’re on our toes like dancers, waiting for the ball to be hit over the net again. The slap is heard, the ball comes over, and my teammate shouts, “I got it!” as she runs and makes a pass to the setter. I shout “Outside!” to let her know I am ready to hit. She sets it to me and I approach and swing as best I can, sending the ball to the other side of the court where they cannot play it out. Again we cheer; the score is 2-1.

Communication is key in volleyball. A player must call the ball to let teammates know it’s hers so others will stay away. If we don’t, two girls will either run into each other trying to hit the ball or they will both stay clear, thinking the other has it, and let the ball drop to the ground. In life, communication skills are extremely important, and volleyball has helped me improve mine.

So what is my point? Well, do you remember that story Everything I Needed to Know in Life I Learned in Kindergarten? Well, everything I needed to know in life I learned in volleyball.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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bobally said...
Oct. 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm:
i love this sport:) good writing!
 
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inkstain said...
Dec. 26, 2008 at 8:08 pm:
Exactly how I feel about the sport; no one quite gets how rewarding volleyball truly is.
 
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