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I am dragged to focus on hundreds of voices, the raging determination and instruction of my coach’s yelling, the encouraging cheers of my classmates, the steady affirmation of my teammates, and the screaming silence in my head. They all lead up to the utmost awaited whistle to begin. I can literally taste a perfect pass, just pressing on the “sweet spot,” on my platform, the perfect formation of my shoulders just over my knees and my knees over my toes. I envision the perfect arch and speed directed precisely at my prepared setter. The setter gracefully pushes the ball to our overbearingly tall middle hitter, who effortlessly yet powerfully swings with all of her might at this small object: the ball.
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If you’ve ever desired a place or situation so much you could touch and taste the energy, that’s how the volleyball court is to me. I can feel the sturdiness of the hardwood floor and can feel sweat dripping down my right temple as I try not to be distracted by the heat effect it actually brings me. I constantly desire that feeling of using my torn and battered kneepads to make the greatest save as the ball is but centimeters from the ground, until I give that last bit of energy and fight. Success, swiftness, sweat, and hard work are what I crave. A time when my mind not simply escapes, but sprints away from my troubles, stresses, or occupations. When my body and mind feel as if they were connected by one vein that pumps one heart for one purpose. To give all I have to achieve one goal that six other girls are fighting just as hard for.
This surrounding makes me content because the feeling of being calm yet exhilarated, prepared yet always caught by surprise, and distracted yet more focused than I’ve ever been makes me feel alive. Being able to lose myself in this sport allows me to learn more about myself than any other situation.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I made my first year on varsity volleyball. In a seemingly discouraging turn of events, I then sat most of my anticipated time on the bench. Yet that was the one season when I grew more in my character than any other season. I learned humility, passion to work harder, and how my encouragement from the bench can affect the entirety of the team. Each season from then on, I have searched for the little things I should be learning about myself. My perspective on this sport is that whether I’m on the bench, or in the starting lineup, I give all that I have. This 59 ft. by 29 ft. wooden court brings out the utmost energy and passion in me. When I walk through the double doors of the gym building, I feel as if my previous thoughts, drama, and stress have dropped there, just outside those doors, without me. I feel free. This arena is where I find myself absolutely content.
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