Well, here I am, fixed in a low, ready position with my knees bent, my arms stretched out in front of me, with my weight on the tips of my toes. The crowd in the stands becomes silent. I rearrange my shorts and pull up my knee pads. The court floor is shiny and slippery, so I lick the palms of my hands and rub them on the soles of my sneakers to get a good grip. Quickly, I observe my teammates and say, "Serve receive as a team." Complete silence and a few seconds of fear, excitement and anxiety surround me. The whistle blows and the ball is served. It sails in my direction from the other side of the court. At this point I decide to go for it, so I yell, "Mine!" when it reaches my side of the court. This serves as a warning to the five other girls on my team to get out of the way because I want to get the ball first. I finally make contact with the ball and I bump it up to the setter, who waits patiently in the front of the court by the net. She then sets the ball to the outside hitter, who, in turn, spikes the ball into the other team's faces.
This is what a volleyball player might experience during a volleyball game. The goal is simple: three hits in all and finish the play with a kill (overhand pass). But first one should learn to expect the unexpected. Anything is possible. The served ball might not even make it to the other team's side, sometimes it hits the net, other times it gets served out of bounds. Volleyball is just like life, it demands a lot of practice and patience. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.