That probably isn't a good slogan for volleyball or any sports, but its fitting.
I saw something in my daughter last night I had never seen before.
She was playing in the second volleyball game of her season. She is quite good. Her dad and I send her to sports camps because she wants to improve. Volleyball is probably her favorite over basketball and track.
Her coach is a ruthless woman, quite trollish in her behavior actually and not well liked. She is approaching 60, gray chopped bob haircut, frumpy, very overweight. I think the troll frown has permanently affixed to her face. I can't quite figure her out. It will become clear what I mean later in this post. The 7th grade coach is in her 20s and very upbeat. They are polar opposites, but work well together. Junior high sports are very competitive here and the caliber of talent in these kids is far beyond what myself and my peers were in high school. And we were good. We were very good. Some of us might even have letters, MVP awards, All State medals, blah ,blah, blah. I was also a volleyball and basketball coach for 3 years in the early 90s, coaching champions and arresting some later in life, but that's another story.
*record scratch* time warp machine-OFF
Bug was in the back line during warm up drills and ready for her coach to spike it her way. Her form is spectacular when she digs, spikes, serves, etc. I am very proud of her.
She missed the first ball and the coach yelled and screamed, throwing somewhat of a tantrum. I frowned. Bug went to move to the next line and the coach ordered her to stay where she was. The next ball was 10 feet in front of her. She dove, hit the ball, but it went into the stands. She went to move into the line. The coach yelled at her to stay there until she told her to move on. This time the other parents around me got quiet. My frown increased in intensity. I did not say anything, not even whisper disgust. I just watched. I don't interfere with coaches. I know what its like to have a meddling parent. Sometimes life isn't peaches.
Again, and again. Every ball was one she had to dive for. She would barely get set and the ball was already launched. I could see the spirit drain out of her face. I was ready for the tears. Pretty soon, the gym was quiet and the drilling continued. After 4 good retrievals in a row, the coach told her to move on. There was a sigh in stereo from the parents around me. I'm sure mine was automatic as well.
Bug didn't cry. She did not waiver. She did not break her form and she hustled for every one of those balls knowing she was being humiliated in front of her peers, opposing strangers, and all the fans. I felt most proud of her at that moment and I couldn't tell her because they had a game to play.
The game was tough. The opposing team, their arch rivals, are the best in the region and by far. I would give them a rating of an advanced high school varsity caliber. Their coach was a star at one time and she is relentless with the winning teams. Bug's school often comes out champions, but volleyball has been a struggle although they, too, are excellent.
During the game, Bug was in that same back row position, digging balls, diving for others, and getting them hard and fast from the various spikes and ferocious serves. She missed some plays. I thought to myself at that moment as a coach, I would have substituted her to chat with her and regain her confidence...break the cycle. Then I would have put her back in the next rotation. MY coach thoughts, anyhoozle. This time her coach did not yell at her and she did not pull her out of the game. Perhaps she was thinking the same thing in her head, "again, again, again, again, again." I don't know. I can't figure the woman out. She won't acknowledge any parent and in fact, told us she didn't want to hear anything from the peanut gallery. Yoda has spoken.
Bug later told me she didn't yell at any one of them and said the other team was so good, she was proud the girls didn't give up and stayed in the game. I somewhat had to hear that twice.
I guess they call all this building character. Bug...or me? Maybe both.