Updated: Apr 6, 2020
I think for each of us, we find our passion in different ways. Most of us understand that one thing leads to another and then to another as that passion begins to grow. For those fortunate few who get to continue that passion through life, they know that when it becomes a part of your every day life, it truly does get into your blood. It's what drives you. It's what gets you up in the morning.
While volleyball in high school P.E. was always fun, I was a soccer player. It wasn't until my sister started playing that I really got a taste for the game. You see, my baby sister (3 years younger) had come and supported me at all of my soccer tournaments for YEARS. She and some of the other sisters were cheer leaders for our team. She spent, i'm sure, HUNDREDS of hours watching us play. Our parents were really involved in our lives. They coached our teams, made banners, were the loudest people on the sidelines, and, by example, showed us the importance of supporting each other.
When my sister started playing high school volleyball, I would go watch the games. I loved watching her play! I loved getting the chance to cheer her on! It wasn't until I had graduated high school that she made the varsity team at Flagstaff High School, though. My sister loved the game. She was a middle blocker and their team was very competitive. When she was playing, games were still to 15 and there was no rally scoring, so you had to have the serve to score. Some of the games would last for hours! It was incredible to watch.
By the time my sister was in her junior and senior years of high school, the team had gotten to the point where they were competing for the region title. The gym would be packed, and loud! Since I was only a couple of years out of high school at that point, I still had quite a few friends who were students at the school so I would go down and join the student section at games. The energy was electric! Playing soccer, there are never crowds like that at games. I remember the screaming and chanting and celebration, but what I remember most is the sense of pride that i felt.
My sister was a middle blocker and a dang good one. In a particular match against Page, she played lights out! I will never forget her getting some big blocks in big moments and having people in the crowd who knew I was her brother come running at me for chest bumps, high fives, and fist bumps. I would gleam with pride each time. It was so cool to get to see my baby sister shine! What people didn't know was that my sister had shoulder problems. Specifically, sometimes when she would swing, her shoulder would dislocate. I remember watching her swing, have her shoulder dislocate, and then watch her proceed to put up a block, have the hitter tip over her block, watch her transition, get set again (while her shoulder was still out) and go up with her other hand and tip over the block to score the point.
My sister was tough! All she wanted to do was compete and help her team. When she tore ligaments in her knee, I remember her crying because she wanted to play and wanted to be a part of her team. As an athlete, watching someone in pain still go at it hits home. I really admired my sister because of that. One of the coolest parts about me getting to play the sport of volleyball was the fact that my sister and I got to share the court together. We played in tournaments together, we played in leagues together. We played together as much as possible! Volleyball is in my blood now. I have been fortunate enough to get to do a TON of things with it and pass my knowledge of the game onto hundreds and hundreds of kids, and I owe it all to that sense of pride that I felt watching my sister play that got me hooked!
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