Tag Archives: Volleyball

From the Other Side of the Net

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been crazy about sports. Maybe it comes from having two brothers. Maybe it originated with my parents, who both love sports as much as I do. Wherever it came from, I caught the bug early–and I caught it bad.

I’ll gladly waste an entire Sunday on the couch watching football, you can’t pull me away from the TV once March Madness starts, and I get swept up in the frenzy of the World Cup. Cardinals baseball and the Olympics clearly have very special places in my life. I even played softball for 9 years and was convinced I would be gold medal gymnast.

But it’s volleyball that’s captured my heart and stuck with me the longest. It’s the sport I spend hours watching and playing and obsessing over. While it seemed for years that softball would be where I excelled, I found my niche in volleyball, and I’ve never looked back. And lately, it feels as though my life is starting to be consumed by it yet again.

After getting involved with a local volleyball club in January and starting to play in a few leagues of my own over the summer, it’s as if I’ve fallen in love with the sport all over. I didn’t know that was possible–I’ve played and watched and loved this game since I was in 5th grade, but having a chance to teach it is crazy exhilarating. I find myself always, always, always leaving the gym with a smile on my face and a resolve to make the next session even better.

It’s a feeling that takes me back to long days in sweaty, dusty gymnasiums. Back to two a day practices and open gyms and workouts I thought might actually kill me. Back to road trips, team building, and friendships that got me through some of the hardest years of my life.

Most importantly now, it takes me back to coaches I respected as they pushed me to be the absolute best player possible. The drills they pounded into my mind may have faded, but I’m realizing that those doesn’t actually matter. The more time I spend hitting balls from this side of the net rather than passing them myself the more I’m reminded that all those years were more than just a list of drills. The techniques and fundamentals have stuck with me, but what’s more is the encouragement, the camaraderie, and the feelings of family I felt nearly every time I stepped into the gym.

And now I have the chance to share my passion with the next generation. I have the chance to be the voice in those girls’ heads, maybe for years to come, just like the coaches of my past are still the voices in mine. Their first tournament won’t be until January, but the season officially kicked off with our first team meeting last night. It’s finally sinking in just how excited I am to be back in the gym and coaching this great group.

Last year, when I assistant coached for my first ever team, I was placed with a group of 14 year olds that I absolutely fell in love with. The girls I have now are even younger than that. At 12 but soon to be 13 year olds, they’ve got a crazy amount of potential, and I can’t wait to see how far they’ll go. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to help push them to the next level and get just as much out of their volleyball experiences as I did.

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On Finding My Purpose

I am immensely envious of the people who know exactly where they want their lives to go. I’ve worked with and known a large number of people who are exactly like that. It’s as if they woke up one morning and the sun was shining through the window, illuminating a little map–here’s what you’re supposed to do! This is what you’re good at, how you’re supposed to make a living! Now go get it done!!

I hate you people.

Although I really don’t. Don’t be mad at me, because I didn’t mean it, I swear. I know you’ve probably worked crazy hard to get where you are. Questioned yourself a million times before figuring it out. There probably wasn’t actually a map. (Probably.) I get it. But once you’ve found that thing you love to do, everyone can tell. It radiates off of you. And God does that make me jealous.

Currently, I am an editor at a healthcare marketing company. People send me the things they’ve written, and I do my best to fix it for them. As my mom says, I just like to tell people exactly how they went wrong and hope I can get someone to pay me for it. It’s kind of a socially acceptable form of being bossy. But who knows? Maybe I’ll eventually figure out that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, but it sure doesn’t feel like it right now. Right now I feel…stuck.

I’ve heard it said that your true calling lies where the things you are good at intersect with the things you are truly passionate about. Well, I have yet to find that common ground.

Things I’m good at include listening to people’s problems, reading books, baking way more cookies than I can possibly eat, and making craft projects–as long as they include very strict directions for me to follow. I’m not quite as good if I have to use my imagination. (These things do not include dancing, killing bugs, keeping my apartment clean, networking, or parallel parking.)

I am truly passionate about my friends and family, the St. Louis Cardinals, Harry Potter, coaching and playing volleyball, and writing. (I am not at all passionate about drinking beer, playing mini-golf, or going to the dentist.)

So where does that leave me? Well right now, it’s left me looking around thinking, “What’s next?”

Where am I meant to go from here? I don’t knowww. I don’t know what I’m doing and, quite frankly, it’s making me whiny.

Oh! That’s another thing we can add to the list of what I’m good at. I bet you I could get at least four people to write me a letter of recommendation about how good I am at being whiny. Although I’d probably have to whine at them before they’d actually do it…

But this not knowing thing–it really is making me crazy. I need to do some serious thinking about how I’d like it all to go. Figure out how to turn into one of those people who just gets it. Just knows where their life is headed and how they’re going to get there.

I’m sorry. I know I’ve kinda written about this before. Is it some sort of unspoken rule of blogging that you aren’t allowed to complain about something, not really do anything to try and make it better, and then complain about it again?

God, I hope not. Because I want to keep writing about it. I want to keep forcing myself to think about the words in hopes that something will strike a chord and fall into place. (Plus I already like this post a lot better than that one.)

I want a life that challenges me. Pushes me beyond what I ever thought I could do and makes me a better person. I want to have the chance to put a spin on this world that is characteristically mine. And figuring out what my thing is…that’s my first step to making that happen.

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It’s Been a Long Week

Normally, writing is my favorite form of self-medication. Putting everything out on paper (or its digital equivalent) is beyond therapeutic. Crafting the sentences, picking just the right words to perfectly convey how I feel…I love it. It soothes my soul in ways that can’t be replicated.

But not this week. This week, I don’t know how I feel, so therefore I can’t write it out. The words felt all wrong, when I felt up to trying, which wasn’t very often. I’d sit and stare at the computer screen, getting lost in the thoughts I’d been trying so desperately hard to push away.

I’d let myself be taken in. Caught in a world of “what ifs” and “could have beens.” It’s not a pretty place, that world. Deep down, you know that this is the right thing. The way things are supposed to go, because it wasn’t going to work out the way you had wanted it to. Too many parts of your life and his were wrong, the pieces of the proverbial puzzle literally wouldn’t fit together. So this is best.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, though; that it doesn’t catch you when you least expect it. When you’re sitting in the middle of a crowded gymnasium, watching a high school volleyball game. Suddenly something happens and you literally laugh out loud. You want more than anything to reach out to him. Share that inside joke you know would make him laugh right along with you.

Instead, you just feel so ridiculously alone. You look around and see all these people, there and fully real, but they don’t matter. Nothing matters but the way you feel in that exact second when you want to say something, try and pull him back to you, but you know full well that it’s a terrible idea. So you fight to hold in the tears that are inexplicably in your eyes and wait for it to pass.

That’s the memory I kept coming back to when it came time to put the pen to the paper. Escaping that wasn’t possible, at least not in the moments of this past week. It was too raw, too fresh, too impossible to ignore.

No, writing was out of the question.

So instead I’m self-medicating by consuming plenty of dark chocolate, reading fantastic books, drinking a whole lot of other people’s whiskey, playing volleyball while heavily intoxicated, eating ice cream in bed, and sleeping in sweatpants that don’t technically belong to me.

These things…they are all wonderful. I love them. They have helped. Tremendously. They made me feel, if only for a few moments, like–just maybe–I was going to be ok.

My newfound ability to write this makes me want to believe it too. How easily the words were coming to mind, how I raced to my computer before I lost them forever. But of course, it won’t be that simple, getting over you. It will require patience with myself, and I will need to be reminded of that from time to time.

I’ll need to remind myself that this is not a life-threatening blow; it’s just still fresh enough to sting when I’m not careful.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge you. Say thank you to you. For treating me exactly how I imagined I would be treated–better, even. For being just what I needed you to be. For helping me through tough times I didn’t even know existed until I emerged on the other side, grateful to be holding your hand.

Come what may, no matter how short our time together was, I will always be grateful to have been holding your hand.

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Olympic Obsession

I tried to hold out. I really did. No matter how hard  I tried to resist (which was secretly not very hard at all), it took less than a day for me to fall into the horrible cycle of sitting on my couch, desperately wanting to change the channel, but being unable to tear myself away.

The Olympics have officially begun. And I have fallen completely under their spell.

I blame NBC. Or I guess the IOC for how they scheduled the events. But it definitely isn’t MY fault. Two of my very favorite sports (volleyball and swimming) were scheduled on day one. How is that fair? Of course I was going to give in immediately.

I’ve already watched indoor volleyball, soccer, swimming, and beach volleyball. And archery is on later. Why does the prospect of getting to watch archery make me so freaking excited? No clue, but I seriously can’t wait. That’s the beauty of the Olympics—every single sport sounds amazing, and I will watch them. I will watch them all.

I need to go to the gym. It’s possible that I was semi-productive this morning and went to the farmer’s market, but that ended with me buying a baguette and then proceeding to eat the ENTIRE THING. On my couch, as I watched some of the best athletes in the world do their thing.

Here’s the thing though: not only are the sports themselves amazing, but the Olympics come complete with a whole new set of sports-themed, inspirational commercials. Athletes telling you how hard they worked, how they love their mom and America, and how much this means to them. I die. I can’t even get up and be productive during the commercials!

Something I could live without though? Ryan Seacrest sitting on his stupid couch interviewing athletes. Go back to American Idol, dude. I’ve seen you talk to five people and you’ve already brought up Justin Bieber. It made me hate myself. Give me my Bob Costas back.

So if you need me, you’ll know where to find me. Because it’s possible I’m not getting up for the next two weeks.

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