The Last Point | Teen Ink

The Last Point

October 17, 2022
By Anonymous

The Last Point

As the sweat dripped from my temple, I apprehensively walked back to the service line. It was the fifth and final set of a hard-fought match, and we were ahead 14-13. I bounced the ball firmly on the ground, then threw it up in the air and struck it hard. As it soared over the net, I couldn't help but hold my breath. The ball landed in the perfect spot on the other side of the net, and that was it. We were going to the section final!

I started playing volleyball in 5th grade and have been playing ever since. Volleyball was never easy, but I have developed many characteristics and learned lifelong lessons through the sport.

When I was seven, I had a friend named Ruby; she was four years older than me. She played volleyball, and I would look up to her. On the weekends, I would spend 12 hours at her tournaments. I first decided to play volleyball in the summer of 5th grade, and I was not too fond of it. I didn't know the other girls, and they were not inclusive. I wanted to give up and quit after my first day, but my mom encouraged me to keep trying. Eventually, I grew more comfortable with the other girls but struggled with the game's fundamentals. Although I practiced every day, I wasn't getting better. As I grew older, I realized if I wanted to pursue volleyball, I needed to put more time and effort into it. I would practice every day after school for hours. I developed a great love for the sport and decided to continue to play in high school.

Over the years, my high school team has taught me leadership, focus, confidence, and perseverance. One thing all of my coaches have taught me is never to give up. I have been lucky enough to be team captain for the past two years, and in this position, I can advise my teammates and the younger girls. During one of our section games last year, I took the initiative and told the team, "We need to push ourselves as hard as we can right now if we want to continue our season. I know every single one of you wants this, so let's show it." Towards the beginning of my season, my coach told us that focusing would be the most important thing for success this year. During our games, I have to be most engaged. The student sections yell chants to distract the players. Through these distractions, I have to block out everyone but my teammates by not giving the opposing students my attention. 

I struggled with confidence, and one action that changed that was when I first met my current coach. He told me, "it's okay to make mistakes; you must fail before succeeding." In past years I have learned to persevere through all the challenges volleyball has thrown me, but most recently, my current season. I realized that we hadn't been playing the best, so I decided to take the initiative and talk to the team. We all agreed that something needed to change for success, and we did just that in time for our first conference game. My coach taught me that no matter how hard I think something can be or how tired you are, always give it your maximum physical effort. 

I play volleyball because I don't want other girls to feel left out, as I did in 5th grade. I strive to be someone the younger girls look up to and want to go to for help. I never want girls to feel the way I felt when I first started playing volleyball. The sport has taught me so much, and I would love for others to have the same experience. I will always remember the last play before going to the section final.

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