This journey has been a long one. One filled with many ups and downs. But overall, even through the downs, this has been an amazing journey (and, in fact, it’s not over yet!).
When I switched from soccer to volleyball in my junior year of high school, all I knew was that I had fallen in love with this sport. I barely knew the game. I knew the basics, and I had the height and the passion. My first year I played for a very small Christian school. I had a ton of catching up to do, with having literally just starting to play that year. I was taught some, obviously, but for a lot of it I was on my own. Apparently I had some natural talent that I didn’t know I had. That year, I started my first game ever and rarely got pulled out, even though I didn’t completely understand the game yet, I played with my whole heart.
The second year I played volleyball, my senior year, this Christian school closed down. I had no idea what I was going to do, I just knew that I HAD to keep playing. So, I found a homeschool team that I could play with. It wasn’t the best team and I had to self-teach myself a LOT.
This is the year that I began teaching myself how to jump serve. It was only the beginning! Not many people jump serve in high school and I wanted to prove to myself (and others, I guess) that I could teach myself how to jump serve, even though this was only my second year playing volleyball. I did it. Every jump serve didn’t look great, but the ones that did looked really good.
When senior year ended, I thought volleyball had ended for me, which devastated me. I had really just begun to learn the game and I knew that I was capable of so much more, if only I had more time and good coaching. Freshman year of college I somehow found a group of people who loved playing and I joined a good co-ed intramural volleyball team. We made it to the Championship but, unfortunately, we were beat in the 5th game 15-13 (I think). The coach of the JV team was on that team. He came up to me right after we finished playing and told me that he would love to see me at JV volleyball tryouts. I couldn’t believe it!
I ended up going to tryouts, even though I was scared to death. After tryouts I felt like I had played absolutely horribly and I thought that there was absolutely NO way that I had made it onto the team. I pretty much talked myself into believing that I hadn’t made it. To my surprise, I made it onto the team!
Sophomore year I didn’t think I should have made it onto the team…and I played like it (when I actually played, which wasn’t much). Junior year I didn’t know if I was going to play, but I ended up playing on the team again. I thought I had come in more confident, only to still not be that confident and still not play as often as I would have liked.
I learned a lot and continued to grow in my skills as a volleyball player, as well as learn how volleyball connect with the rest of my life. Volleyball isn’t just a hobby on the side for me…something that I like to do for myself as I have time. Volleyball is still a huge passion of mine. I play pretty much all of the time, no matter how busy I am, because I love it that much and because it is a huge stress reliever for me. That still isn’t the main reason that I play it, though. If those were the only reasons that I played it for, it would still all be a waste of time. Something that was a part of my life at one point, and then vanishes. Coach has taught me a lot about what it means to play for God and why that is so important. Volleyball can be an act of worship. When you think about worship, most people probably do not immediately think of volleyball. But for me, volleyball can be worship, although it is extremely hard sometimes to get to that place, instead of playing for selfish reasons, making it not worship-full at all. In the Old Testament, people worshipped God by giving them the very BEST that they had…the best offerings that they could give Him. And for different people, that offering looked different, because they had different things to give Him.
For volleyball, I think that means that it is extremely important to sacrifice our VERY BEST to God, every single point. And for different people, that might look different. But if everyone is continually giving their best (in each individual point!), that is worship and that is why we have a reason to play. And this thought can be carried out to every single part (every story, if you will) of our ultimate story that makes up our life.
Then I got to my senior year.
This is definitely the closest that I felt to my team.
I came in actually feeling much more confident. My passing, which has struggled for the previous two years of playing here (mostly for mental reasons…), has definitely improved a ton this year. As the season started, I was super excited when coach played me in the outside position several times. I still played right side when needed, but I did get to play outside as well…which made me so SO happy, because I have been working for that position for 3 years. I am so excited to say that this was not my last season, as I had feared. I am going to be a full-time student next semester, so I believe I can play volleyball my super-senior year as well! I am thankful to God that my time of playing volleyball is not yet finished here at Cedarville. I couldn’t be happier about that, because I can look back and see how much I have changed and grown and IMPROVED (other people have even seen the difference even between this year and last year!), but I know that I can always be improving and learning and growing more and I can’t wait to see how much I can improve next year! It’s been real, Senior year of volleyball, but I WIN! You can’t get rid of me that easily! I’m coming back and I’m gonna crush it for one more year here! #winordie #volleyball #ForHim