November Gratitude Shorts, Day 9
Hallelujah for volleyball!!
It started 30 years ago, in 7th grade, when Mrs. Walton started a girls’ volleyball club, I think. Then I seem to recall playing on an actual middle school team, against other schools? We wore orange basketball uniforms–so ugly, but I didn’t care! I was hooked.
The summer before high school I stalked the varsity coach, Bubba, and called him at home, requesting (begging) to attend volleyball camp, which incoming freshman usually weren’t allowed to do. I knew I needed the extra training to make the team.
Each year I made the team again, to my great relief and pride. I worked exponentially harder at volleyball than at any subject in school. Maybe I felt I had something to prove, but I also just loved the game. It taught me discipline, focus, teamwork, time management, and perseverance (I think we never had a winning season).
But it was college where all that persistence really paid off. Growing up in mostly white, suburban Denver, I had no idea that volleyball was such an Asian thing. I got to Northwestern and hey, all these Chinese and Korean kids played! That’s how I made friends with my husband, the tall, smiley Chinese guy. We played all through college and med school. I realize now it’s one of the few things we love in common.
I had forgotten most of this over the years–residency, new jobs, kids, work…work, kids–until this fall, when our local Jewish Community Center started a club on Monday nights. We have played the last three weeks and I’m proud to say that though rusty, my skills and court sense remain intact!
The best part has been reconnecting with our younger selves. And, I have to say, he’s definitely still got it–just as sexy on the court now as 20 years ago. I love getting the perfect pass, setting him up, and watching him leap, then slam it with authority to the floor on the other side. It’s pretty cool when he sets to me, too, and it helps that the net is set at women’s regulation height.
Our son, who is twelve, has started to play. I see in him his dad’s natural reflexes and talent for the game, and I look forward to growing that. Our daughter, too small to play with adults yet, seems happy to read _Harry Potter_ for the hour each week, so this could easily become a weekly family routine, yay!
I never thought I would have a chance at this age, in this stage if life, to share this love again with not only the hubs, but with the kids, too. Thank you, Mrs. Walton! Thank you, Bubba! Thank you, Barbara, Jennifer, and Lisa, the coaches who never cut me from the team! Thank you, husband, for showing up and playing with joy and abandon! And thank you, JCC, for relighting this old flame. If I take care of myself right, by the time I die, I might have played for most of my life. I will feel nothing but gratitude for that.