Teachable Moment

Sports never appealed to me as a kid. I preferred watching television over playing outdoors. When I was eight, I tried playing soccer with my classmates at recess. Not far from my expectations, it didn’t end well: I was not able to pass the ball or dribble with the ball. Leaving with humiliation and regret, I did not see myself playing sports again. A week later, I was asked to play. We stood on the field like soldiers as we were eager to be picked. There was a hierarchy in our class. From the top (the best in class) to the bottom (the goofiest), we picked out the teams. Being the last to be chosen, I was not synchronized with my team. I was given the opportunity to shoot and score a goal but missed and fell on the ground, my team in shame as they ran back to defend. I really hated sports from that moment on. But my eight-year old-self would be surprised as to how athletic I am now. 

Summer of June 2016,

Light shone into our apartment as the soft wind greeted me. I was watching television when I encountered an anime called “Haikyuu” which was all about volleyball. In the first episode, the main character was fascinated by a volleyball match he saw on television. The story then progresses as he joins the volleyball team and gains popularity with his vertical jumps, which sparked my interest in sports. I gained some confidence playing sports and one day my friend asked me to play basketball with him. A crossover following with a backspin to a layup, I scored most of the points for my team. I felt joyed and powerful with every swish I heard, maybe a couple of airballs along the way. I went up for a block when all of a sudden I felt unease on my foot.

crack, as I fell to the ground in agony.

Injuries are the worst, I couldn’t play for a few weeks. Fast forwarding to 2018 as I grew more passionate about sports I got scouted by my high school coach. When I took my first step into the gym I was astonished by the number of people eager to be on the volleyball team; frankly, I was a little puppy lost in a dog pit. Although I was frightened by their presence and their physiques, I was also welcomed by many fellow teammates who eased my worrisome. Seeing them hit the ball on the first four days really gave me a glimpse of what volleyball is, and that’s when I wanted to join the volleyball team. With my height and my age, I had a lot of potential and needed to improve my overall body to be able to jump and spike the ball with force. I also needed to focus on the basic elements of volleyball from an easy 3 step approach to being able to pass or set the ball to my team. 

Unfortunately, Covid-19 occurred and although this means I don’t have to attend school in person, this also means that all high school sports were canceled because of distancing. A year passed and my urge to play volleyball finally came to a stop as I walked back to the same gym and met familiar and new faces. Junior year and we were all just wearing masks and our jerseys on our first welcome-back game against other schools. Senior year comes and our team was finally looking strong, we even made it to the semifinals as we were close to setting a new record as to how far we could make it to the tournaments. As I approached the spike and hit the ball with all my might, I fell in love with volleyball. I saw the ball in the air, in a blink and I see the ball on the other side of the court.  Last game with my team, the last touch with the ball, and the last whistle I will hear in my high school year, I realized my chapter was coming to an end. We had a sports banquet and to my surprise, I was called up to get the coach’s award. It was not as big as the most improved or most valuable player but at least is something. 

I remember all the memories I made with the team and all the grass volleyball we played outside school. Remembering setting up grass volleyball at a park outside my house and playing until we could not see anything. The best part of this comes after the day when our bodies are sore but no matter because we would repeat the same thing over and over on weekdays and weekends. Summer of my first college year, I was invited to join what is called Vikings nine-man volleyball. I gladly accepted after a few persuasion and when I first arrived I realized it was completely different from how I played volleyball in high school, we played on concrete, and the net was lower but overall the rules were completely different too. 

When I first learned about the rule I thought it was a joke, but when we got onto practice games, I realized that they were not joking. Being able to grab the ball from the middle of the air and throw the ball on the other side was mind-blowing. I quickly adapted to the game style as I made it to the gold team, the team with the least experienced player and amateurs but that’s okay because I got to meet really cool people. Our first tournament took place in Philly and it was at a parking lot outside of a stadium. With the sun blinding us and overwhelming our minds with the heat, I felt like I started to hallucinate. Everyone else seemed to be sweating and smiling. The first game was on and I was really nervous because we usually went against each other, but now we went against other popular teams. Throughout the day, I made a lot of memories and lots of moments that I could still think of in detail.

On the way home, I looked out the window as I blast my music so loud that I could not hear the road and honks. I was able to think back to the old me, who was afraid of taking the leap.


Abstract

Sports weren’t my thing growing up as I attempted to play multiple times. Imagining myself playing sports was impossible until I got inspired by my friends and sports shows. As I started playing sports again I found a reason why I cannot stop playing and I’m glad I took the chance of playing sports.