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Dear Volleyball, We Miss You

HJV’s Devan Taylor (16) writes one essay on what she misses most about volleyball.

We need more positivity right now, so we thought we’d add a couple more. Below are four more of our favorite entries about what players miss most about volleyball.

Entry from Jaelyn Thomas, a Class of 2026 OH, MN Select 12-1:

So Much More

I miss the greetings and smiles when I enter the club gym and the way our faces light up when we see each other.

I miss the laughs that we share when we’re doing our latest TikTok, recalling something funny, or just being silly.

I miss the memories we make as we travel from tournament to tournament and the bond we continue to build with each set we play.

I miss celebrating our successes, picking each other up when we’re down, working on our mental toughness, and practicing to not only improve our skills but to be better for our teammates.

I miss sweating it out with my teammates by my side, pushing hard through drills and training, and that feeling of knowing we worked hard and left everything on the floor.

I miss our coaches and their constant teaching, supporting, helping us grow, and pushing us to reach our potential.

I miss the families with their cheering, pick-me-up encouragement, hugs, high fives, and constant support.

We are a family.

We’re all in this together and being part of this team makes me a better person. We work hard for each other because not only do we not want to let ourselves down, but more importantly we don’t want to let our team down.

This is so much more than volleyball. I can’t wait to get back on the court and be with my team.

***

Entry from Devan Taylor, a Class of 2021 Libero, Houston Juniors 17 Elite, committed to Clemson University:

If I could only choose one thing that I miss about getting to play volleyball, it would have to be the challenges and adversity it forced me to push through. Volleyball, like any sport, comes with obstacles that we are forced to overcome. Obviously nobody likes to struggle and break down with the pressure of rebuilding. But at the same time, those breakdowns gave me goals and objectives to strive towards.

Me, being the perfectionist that I am, playing volleyball allowed me to never settle for mediocrity. That feeling of pushing through hard times or getting through a slump of bad practices is unmatched. Knowing that you’re one step closer to your end goal than you were yesterday is the highest feeling of achievement for me.

With that being said, Corona has not just taken away my ability to play the sport that I love, it has interrupted my progress and growth in this game mentally. It has forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and do things I never used to have time for. Even though this forced time off of volleyball has been inconvenient, it made me realize what I love so much about playing this sport.

On the bright side, when this is all said and done, COVID-19 will just be another obstacle that we overcame to get us one step farther than we were yesterday. For now, I will continue to stay focused on getting healthier, mentally and physically, and use this time to the best of my ability.

***

A letter by Lindsey Smith, a Class of 2024 OH, Infinity VBA 14 Adidas:

Dear COVID-19,

In case you don’t know, you’ve created a lot of problems lately. You’ve caused the whole world to go into panic mode. Not only have you done that, but you’ve also managed to become a thief. You’ve stolen so much from us in the past few months. The last few months of school from students, the feeling of living in a safe environment, getting to go out and see our friends every day. There’s also one more thing you’ve managed to steal, one thing that is very important to me. The ability to play sports. For me, it’s playing volleyball. You managed to take away part of my season. You have caused me to miss so much and be apart from the thing I love. So, since you’re not aware of what exactly you’ve been taking away, let me give you a few examples of the things I am missing from volleyball.

I miss seeing the lifelong friends the sport has given me, people that I would call family. I miss getting the pure rush of emotion and joy from crushing a ball or winning the match point in a tight game. All the team lunches we had after playing. All the memories made on the court that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

But because of you, I can’t make those memories sitting stuck inside my house. Volleyball isn’t just a sport to me; it’s not just hitting a ball over a net. It’s so much more. It’s something I love with all my heart, it’s my escape from the modern world. From all the pressure of school and homework. When I step onto that court, I know I’m home. Every bad thing that could’ve happened that day just floods away and all I can feel is the happiness of getting to play the game. You’ve taken all of this from me and many more people. You’ve taken away my home.

So, if you don’t mind, for mine and the rest of the world’s sake, could you please just calm down and go away. So, we can all get back to doing what we love. So, we can go back to our home away from home. It would be greatly appreciated, thanks for listening.

Sincerely,
Lindsey Smith

***

Entry from Amy Schwem, a Class of 2020 Setter, Michio Chicago VBA, committed to the College of William & Mary:

My Sport

When I think about all that I’m missing out on right now in not being able to do the thing I love most, a lot of things come to mind. I miss my teammates and coaches who are considered family to me, I miss the feeling of winning a big point, set, or match, and I even miss the feeling of my lungs burning as my teammates and I finish our last round of conditioning together. But above all, I miss being able to escape reality and enter a completely different world when I’m on the court.

Everyone gets unfair calls in life. We tend to think to ourselves, “Why?”. Why did that ref call that ball out when I KNOW it was in? Why did that test have to be so hard when I KNOW I needed a good grade on it? Why did God have to take her so soon, when I KNOW she had an extraordinary life ahead of her?

All of these unfair calls and more, big and small, life-changing and ordinary, have been thrown my way, as they have to many others. The day my childhood friend passed away, I asked God “Why?” at least once a day. The day that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I asked God “Why?” almost as many times as the number of breaths I took.

There are a lot of unknowns in life, and at times every call seems to be unfair. But the one consistent thing that I have had through it all is volleyball. The workouts, the traveling, and the community itself.

Not only has my Michio family supported me through all of the ups and downs of life, but the ability to lace up my shoes, step out onto the court, and be able to block everything else out is something that not everyone is fortunate enough to have. Volleyball is so much more than a game; it is a piece of me that is missing when I am not able to drive to the gym every day.

But just like many other things in life, this situation is just another unfair call that is thrown our way. And while many of us may be asking that all too familiar “Why?” right now, we have the ability to take what is given to us, turn it into an avenue for a different type of growth, and be geared up and ready to go for the minute those whistles start to blow again.

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