Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Believing…Volleyball Lessons

Discouragement and fear often run together; but when risk comes along and whops them with a good blast of courage and determination, look out! Who knows what can happen.
“So how did your volleyball tryouts go?”
“Not so good I got cut, the coach said, she didn’t want to cut me but my skills just weren’t there. But, she is going to give me another chance.”
“I told her if she didn’t want to cut me that she should let me try for another day and that I was sure I could do better.”
Inside I groaned. My daughter was the master sales person but why does she always have to fight, I thought? You are fighting the inevitable. Why does she do things like this – prolonging the pain? If she couldn’t make it through the first day of cuts how did she ever think she could make it past the next day? I have had to be part of doing cuts. Those cut the first day are simple – the coaches see it and all the players see it –yes it is a day of disappointments but the second day is when the real pain comes; cutting players that really are good enough to be on the team and they know it as you cut them. I hurt for my daughter knowing what tomorrow held, the disappointment, the tears, the self doubt.
The next day I came home from work prepared to hear the worst and listen to how unfair it all was. I was already hurting because my daughter was not measuring up. I knew what that pain was like; I have had it so many times in my own life. “So how did tryouts go?”
“Dad, my coach wants you to call her, here is her phone number. She told me at practice that I couldn’t be on the team but I could come to the practices and try to get better. She told me if she could find an extra uniform I would actually get to sit on the bench at the games with the other girls but I won’t get to play.”
“Really…? Is that okay with you? You know the other girls might tease you.”
“I told my coach I would love the chance but she wants you to call her. It has to be okay with you too; is it dad? Please! I know I can get better.”
The phone call was made and my daughter’s rendition was accurate. Hanging up I felt a little pride over my daughters drive to not give up. The coach told me she had never done this before and that my daughter’s skills were very short of what was needed but that my daughter had worked harder than any of the other girls, so she wanted to give her a chance.
The practices began, soon the games were under way. Game after game my wife and I faithfully went to watch our daughter sit on the bench – way too much fun. Snorrrrrre.
Late in the season, her team was way ahead. All at once my wife jabbed me waking me from my slumber. There she was down and ready, knees bent, arms out forward, and a silly grin on her face, awaiting the serve. I have no idea if she even touched the ball that night. But, she was given playing time. Here and there for the remainder of the season she was given a little court time now and then.
That year she was given the award for most improved. The next year once again she was given the award for most improved. Her last year of high school, again tryouts were nerve racking, seniors were only allowed to play varsity. Up to this point she had been on the junior varsity team. She made it through the first day of cuts. Could she make it through the second day?
On the drive home from work the anxiety began to build in me. Maybe I should stop and buy her flowers, I thought. No, maybe she will make the team, that is negative thinking, but what if she doesn’t the flowers would be nice and maybe ease a little of the disappointment. Anxiously, I drove up my driveway almost dreading to go into the house. There she was at the kitchen table diligently doing her home work. Hmmm…the house was at peace. “So, how did tryouts go?”
A great big smile answered my question. But once again there she was sitting on the bench watching the better girls play but at least she was getting regular playing time. About half way through the season she was given a starting position and she never let go of it through the rest of the season. That year she once again was given the award for most improved but she was also given the Coaches award for her leadership and hard work. I am sure I was the proudest parent in the room. She is something special that girl. Her ability to outwork her competition has continued, she continues to go against the odds. I am very proud of her.


Michele Mallory-Davidson said...

WOW! What a special girl, her perseverance is most admirable! You have every right to be so proud. Kids can be so amazing, I see it every day in mine and they teach me so much! I am sure that this quality in her has served her well in life! You and your wife must have this quality too, after all your daughter learned it somewhere!
~Michele from By Your Side

Betty said...

Your daughter is amazing. But, so are you and your wife for not intervening. Most of us don't have the patience you had. We're too afraid our children will be hurt. Good for you!

Grayquill said...

Michele, Thank you! The good qualites are all from my wife. Yeah, I think my kids could have taught me somethings if I had just been paying attention. Like the time I was being less than above reproach and she said, "Dad, I don't think Jesus would have done that." She was probably right. D'OH!
Thanks for your comments.

Betty: Welcome! I am so glad to meet you.
You don't say no to this daughter and that's just the way it is. Hmmm...actually it's the other daughter too.
I hope to see you again.

Michele Mallory-Davidson said...

Loving your blog! Just wanted to ask if you would mind me listing your blog on my "Good Reads" list on my blog? Let me know!
~Michele from By Your Side

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Grayquill said...

Michele: Well that is about as nice as it gets. Thank you. I sent you an email in regards to your question.

Choco: I am glad I could provide a recollection of a chlldhood memory. FYI my daughter is 29 now - you can call her kid all you want, but I don't dare. Thanks for stopping by!

Holly Kay said...

Feisty one, isn't she! Between her spirit and her parents' support, she couldn't possibly go wrong. Good for her! But also for you and your wife--the flowers from you, your wife attentively watching each game managing to catch the moment your daughter unexpectedly got to play...lotta loving support there.

Dianne said...

I read the story twice because it felt so good the first time - plus your writing is so conversational and descriptive

I just love everything about this
what a wonderful way to start my day

Grayquill said...

Holly: How nice to hear from you. Fiesty - now that's a great description. Truth - sorry to mislead you in the story - I am a smuck most of the time - I only thought about the flowers I never got them. I did notice you observed it was only my wife watching attentively - of course why wouldn't she? Gym's and me sleep well together.
Thanks for stopping by - Today is July 12th - in case you were wondering.

Dianne: Hi - you are new! Yippee! I am so excited to meet you. Thank you for stopping for a little conversation. You flatter me but of course I love that - who wouldn't right? Thank you for your very kind words. Very Encouraging!
I hope to see you again.

Holly Kay said...

Um, yes. I do recall that other volleyball story. It makes me chuckle every time I think about it!

I am missing something. Why did you point out today's date?

Holly Kay said...

OH GOSH!! Talk about feisty! I just read your wife's response to your Bare Stomach Volleyball story!

This blog started great, but it keeps getting better and better in new and unexpected ways. I LOVE it when spouses comment on each other's blogs. Darn it, wish mine did that...

riddhiculous said...

awww.. she is wonderful. She is inspiring beyond inspiration. Thank you for sharing this. m inspired to continue. to move on.. to keep trying :)

Grayquill said...

Holly: I had my wife read your comments - you gave her a giant big smile.

riddhi: Thank you. I know I often give up to soon. Hope can help me get back up over and over but without hope - knock me down once and I probably will just lay there. I have also found the great destoryer of hope is when I honor feelings that have no busienss being honored. John Walton the great basketball coach use to say to his players, "Emotion is the enemy" I agree that sometimes it is.
Thanks for stopping by -

Jen said...

Hi I am new here but loved this story! Your daughter seems like one great girl/woman. Thank you for the comments on my blog recently. Yes Arizona has good air conditioning in order to have hockey. I love being at rink, it's one cool place to be on a hot summer day! I'll definitely be back to read and get to know better!


Grayquill said...

Jen: Thanks for stopping by.