Passion for Volleyball

December 1, 2008
Today was the day. It had finally come. I had spent countless days, weeks, months, even years of preparation for these next couple hours. I had run numerous suicides, dripped sweat and tears and worked out till my legs felt like jelly. Everything that I had learned from my coaches, teammates, and parents was all running through my head like an Olympic sprinter going around the track. “Just do your best today; that’s all that matters.” i could hear the words from my parents crystal clear.

I had just finished my first day of ninth grade. I was a freshman. I loved having a title; it made me feel so special. The bell had rung and my wonderful mother picked me up and rushed me over to School for my first school volleyball tryout.

We pulled up to the gymnasium; I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car into the warm Arizona air. I then slowly took small steps into the spacious gym. The cool air rushed onto my face and through my hair. The smell of leather volleyballs and rubber tennis shoes filled my nose. I saw Coach Higgins sitting on the bleachers. My heart started beating rapidly. I had already met Coach Higgins through my older sister and the summer camps I had participated in, so that made me feel a little better. I also already knew all of the other girls trying out because they were mostly all my sister’s friends. However, I was still nervous. How could I not be? I was the only freshman; everyone else was a sophomore, junior, or senior.

I went and sat by my sister Meagan and put on my shoes. Meagan is a remarkable volleyball player. She already knew that she was going to make varsity, so she didn’t have much to worry about. She has high-quality offense and defense skills. I just wished that I would be as good as her and be sitting in her spot.

It was time to start; coach blew the whistle and called us over. She welcomed us to tryouts and told us to warm up. We all began to jog around the courts. Everyone was asking me questions, “Are you nervous?” “Do you think that you will make varsity?” “Are you trying out at Stapley too?” “You’re the freshman, right?” I just shook my head and kept running.

We warmed up our arms with partners, and then we were separated onto two courts. Basically, one of the courts was the varsity court and the other court was the junior varsity court. My name was called to go onto the varsity court. I got really excited and sprinted onto the court. At first, everything that I did felt weird and I couldn’t focus on what I was doing. Every skill that I performed I knew I wasn’t doing to the best of my ability. As I passed the ball it would shank off of my arms and go into the conner. I took a deep breath and kept playing.

One by one, coach began to call girls back to talk to her. Some girls left in tears and others went over to the JV court. I was anxiously waiting for her to call me back.

“Mackenzie!” Coach yelled.

Oh man, I thought in my head. What is she going to say? Either, “I’m sorry you’re not good enough to be on this team,” or, “Welcome to the team.”

I went and sat next to her in a bright orange plastic chair. The palms of my hands were sweating bullets. I looked at the papers on her desk and found the one with my name on it. I stared at it until my eyes became too dry and I had to blink. Coach looked at me and began to speak. She explained the two options that I had. I could play at Stapley and be the superstar of the team, or I could play at here but not be given much playing time.

I thought deeply of everything I had considered. Yes or no. The two sides of my head fought back and forth. One was screaming, of course, say yes; play here! This is what you have worked for. The other said it would be difficult to not be with your friends and to miss out on all the fun that they would have. Both sides were right and I had to make a choice.

I blurted out, “Yes, I want to play here.” I knew that it was the right choice because of everything I had talked about with my parents. I knew that this would be a magnificent opportunity to play with my sister and that I would have a tremendous learning experience. Although I wouldn’t receive much playing time, I knew that I would get better in practice.

Our record for this season is eleven wins and two losses. For the first four games, I started as the defensive specialist in the back row and then moved to outside hitter for the next seven games. I was ecstatic when coach told me that I was going to be starting. I was not expecting this and I was overjoyed. I could feel myself becoming a better volleyball player with each practice and game that I had. Though this great experience I have developed a better relationship with my sister and other teammates. When people tell me that I look like Meagan out on the court, I take it as an outstanding complement. Being a Toro for my 2008 volleyball season has overall helped me discover my passion for volleyball.

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hbwriter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm
I love volleyball so much! I am going to have the similar problem of being on the JV vs. the Varsity team next year, and am anxious about which I will choose to play on, if given the chance to play varsity. Your choice to play on the better team, and ending up starting, gives me some hope. I really want to make varsity, and I think I will say yes if I am asked to play on the varsity team. Even though all my friends will be playing JV, I will probably get more from being on varsity. Now I just ha... (more »)
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