My youngest daughter, Klara, started 7th grade this year. Klara has never been very athletic, other than occasionally participating in gymnastics or dance classes, so I was surprised when she told me she wanted to try out for volleyball. After a few days of practice and then tryouts, unfortunately she did not make the team as a player, but she was thrilled that she was able to become a team manager, and I was so happy for her!
Last night was her team’s first game, well games. The way it is set up, the team plays two games with two different teams for a total of four games. By the time I got off work and arrived, I had already missed the first two games with their first competitor, but I heard they did well, winning one out of the two games. I arrived just in time to see the first game with their second competitor. Then I got a taste of athletes in their infancy. Newbies to the court.
When game started, I watched as Klara’s team served the ball. It went over the net. Girls would all look to another to hit it. The ball would hit the floor. Our team received a point. Repeat. And again and again and again. Once or twice the ball hit the net and it went to the other team. They would serve, not make it over the net and it would return. Our team made an astounding win, but no one ever really hit the ball. It was quite comical. Then the second game began. It started out a repeat of the first game – ball is served, goes over the net, six girls all cringe to avoid hitting it, it hits the floor, point scored. Repeat. All a parent could do was laugh.
Then midway through the game, the ball was served, and low and behold, a girl on the other team actually hit it back over the net! The crowd went wild! Our team returned the ball and once again the other team returned it again! Parents went crazy and the gymnasium roared! For a few brief seconds we were watching an actual volleyball game! The teams were ecstatic! Everyone could feel the rush of excitement of young athletes in all their glory. Then just as quickly as it started, it came to an end when the ball was missed and hit the floor. Such a play would not be repeated for the remainder of this game.
I suspect never again will there be a game such as this for these girls. It was their first game. They will improve. Fear of hitting the ball will diminish. But the memory of this first game for a parent is priceless. It will be talked about for ages to come. A moment in time exemplifying innocence and the birth of young athletes.