The Field of Battle

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As I sat there, about to enter a place that has recently become the home of my love and I, my blood started pulsing through my veins, as if trying to escape. My breath so effortlessly seemed to break out of my lungs, and my stomach churned inside. Somehow I gathered my composure, and managed to step through the door. I strode onto the floor that seems to change ever so slightly every time I go to meet my love, from home to home, and setting to setting. I walked slowly to the bench, right inside of the place where the affair was to occur. I looked around me to find the familiar objects; the grounds on which I was to prove myself. Here stood solitarily a net, and attached to it, a referee stand. This court, no matter how many times I look at it, just seems to draw out every last bit of adrenaline from my body. Whether I am going to participate or just going to watch, I am transfixed by every aspect of the battle that is about to take place.

I can picture myself playing at any given moment. As a freshman I was not expecting to make the team, let alone to start over upper-classmen that played on J.V. along with me. As the season progressed I began to dream about this new passion that I had discovered; it initiated the obsession that I now have-it slowly crept into my thoughts in almost all of my waking moments. Over the past year and a half, I have honed in on my skills and I have done everything I can, and taken every opportunity to improve myself. All of this preparation is in order to be ready for the enemy that dares to stand on the other side of the net from my five comrades and me. For we are equipped to fight and win. This match is not as much of a battle as a war, with the battle being for every point that is earned on the floor. During play, the point almost never seems to be won while both teams are putting forth their best effort. The ball rallies to and fro over the eight-foot, seemingly unconquerable mountain that is the net. Yet with every play one tries to beat the opposing side by getting over this mountain, and smashing this ball onto the battlefield of the opposite team. It feels as though as soon as one point is scored, like a battle that is won in war, the momentum travels with the victorious team into the next battle. This thrill and excitement of battle leaves you drained, and even with a victory of war, the fatigue strikes both teams, and rest is needed.

Though my passion is to participate in this extraordinary fight, watching gives me a joy that is probably the closest match that is able to compare to being part of it. The exhilaration still makes the adrenaline pulse through my body as I cheer for those that are on the court. The momentum from the players moves into the crowd like a spirit, and a roar erupts with each strong finish to a point. I watch as these players seem to dance on the freshly cleaned wooden boards gliding about with each other in a flowing movement of following the ball. Three times this army touches the ball with each battle that is fought. The first touch sets the tone of the rest of the battle, if this touch is not controlled and precise, the battle could end disastrously for that team, but if that first touch is accurate, and on the money, that team becomes a major threat to the opposition. The second touch is the calm before the storm, as the ball is put across the net for the third hit, a ferocious attack on the ball. One of the most prominent problems observed from being a spectator is the team giving up on themselves. It starts out with the team losing a couple of the points in a row, and as they look at the big picture of the war (the overall score), one sees the fact that they are about to be conquered, and the expression on their face literally falls. Following this, you can see one by one, the rest of the team following in the first member’s footsteps; suddenly the tempo of the game drops and brings the momentum down with it. In watching this, it kills me as a player that has been in that situation many times, to watch the team dig themselves into that ditch that seems to rear its ugly head so often, I just want to leap out of my place in the stands, and get the momentum of the game going again, so the team will keep fighting.

The most important aspect of watching these games to me personally is the chance to learn from watching the form, and the minute movements of each player to perfect my form. This is because on my own team, my coach’s best talent is definitely not coaching. So in order for me to better myself, I apply the specific things that I see work for other people and teach myself how to become better. When the game is finally finished, and the battle fought, I still have somewhat of a void inside of me that I feel needs to be filled.

Any effort, however, to fill this hole created from not being part of the game, that does not include picking up a volleyball, is futile. This love shines strongly through my life, on almost any day of the week if you were to ask me if I was going to play or watch volleyball at any point throughout the day, the answer would almost always be yes. Even though stepping on the court is a regular occurrence for me, each time feels like the first time, with the passion and enthusiasm growing rather than diminishing. The experience is once in a lifetime every time I step onto that court, even if it may be so often. Nevertheless watching or playing, this is a relationship that I feel the love will never fade and it is as if I am a little kid, giddy with excitement with even the slightest sight of a ball where I just happen to be.





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