This is how my game went. It’s cool, Bella. I get you.
Tonight I (very, very graciously) stepped in and played volleyball on a friend’s intramural team. They were short on their token girls and I guess I came to mind simply because I’m always workin’ on muh fitness. HOWEVER, I was not a good choice and I said so repeatedly, but their only other option was to forfeit. So I sucked it up and drove over to the gym.
I had a horrible feeling of dread in my stomach. This is pretty weird for me because while I know I’m not very good at volleyball, I also know I’m a fairly athletic person. I played soccer from the time I first learned to toddle around the field (rec, club, and school) until I graduated high school. I run obsessively. I work out daily. I can definitely figure out volleyball for one night and hang in there. So why in the world was I so nervous?
I opened the door to the gym, I swiped my student ID, and I made my way to the volleyball courts. Every step felt heavier than the last. You probably think I’m exaggerating. Let me assure you, I wish I were.
Just as I was considering leaving, I was spotted. My friend bopped up to me, all smiles, and I followed her to what I was sure was my certain doom.
We started playing. The other team looked profesional. They were enormous! They had matching shirts. And kneepads. Oh God, why didn’t I have kneepads? Why didn’t a single person on my team have kneepads? This was going to be awful. The whistle blew, the ball was served. And so it began. And then it stopped. The stupid ref on her stupid tall chair was pointing at me and blowing her stupid whistle! I hadn’t even moved yet!
Turns out it was because I had earrings in. They were little tiny studs, but whatever. Also, about five other girls had on some sort of jewelry. Also whatever. The other team got a point because I was well accessorized. Not a good start.
We continued to play. I learned very quickly that I have not gotten any better over the years in which I have successfully avoided volleyball. Absence had not made my heart grow any fonder one bit. I hit the ball and it went backwards. I hit the ball and it slammed into the back of my teammate’s head. I hit the ball and it about knocked the stupid ref off of that stupid chair. We lost the first game. I decided not to hit the ball anymore.
We switched sides. Because we had the absolute minimum number or girls, we all had to remain on the court the entire time. No subs for us. I know all the men were super thrilled by that rule.
The second game. I learned that I know how to serve pretty okay. In fact, after the match, some of my teammates went on to refer to my serves as “decent”. We even won. This is because I did not attempt to touch the ball, not a single time. I moved away if it came flying towards me so that one of the more gifted players could swoop in and save us all.
Third game. The tie breaker. Apparently you only play to 15. Or something like that. We were winning. I was up at the net. We had 14 points, just one more until victory! Then that volleyball decided to take me out itself. It was coming towards me in slow motion. No one was there. I had to do something. I squinted up my eyes and… tapped it. It was more of a swat. Like a kitten that’s afraid of a bug. But it went over the net and WE WON!
Now while this ball was moving at the rate of a handicapped tortoise, forcing me to decide how to act, I was able to think clearly. It suddenly came to me! I had an honest-to-goodness flashback, just like in the movies. I KNEW WHY I WAS AFRAID OF VOLLEYBALL.
It all dates back to elementary school. 5th grade. PE. We played volleyball (I mean… obviously) and it was awful. My teacher (who would be arrested a few months later for beating a kid on the playground) had tried to make an example of me because I was tall. This may be the most shocking thing I’ve said so far because I’m only 5’3″. But I was 5’3″ then, too! Early growth spurt.
On top of being the awkward, lanky girl, I truly sucked at volleyball. But I wasn’t supposed to suck at volleyball DAMMIT, because I was TALL! And every class, this horribly intimidating man who I thought was actually Hulk Hogan (because they looked the same, complete with blonde handlebar mustache and bad tattoos) would stand me up in class and try to force me to demonstrate volleyball techniques. I failed. Always. Then this horribly intimidating man would yell. And I wanted to die.
We never played soccer in PE. Thank the Lord that was kept sacred.
So there you have it. I played volleyball. I unlocked a hidden mystery in my past. I conquered volleyball. Not too shabby for a Monday night.