Falling Forward

Kylie - Pleasant HIll, Iowa
Entered on September 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks, sports, work
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My first volleyball game of the season was on a Monday night. My team went in unranked against the number one ranked team in the state. I had prepared for weeks for this game, and now it was time to play.

As my team ran out to warm up, my body was shaking; sweat had already started to drip down my face. The first two games were intense; the crowd was crazy and we were fighting back and forth for points with the opposing team. I wanted to win this game so badly. As the libero I tried my hardest to not let any balls hit the floor, even though my heart raced uncontrollably. The team was exhausted but we didn’t let up. We fought through it and kept playing our game. We won the first two sets, but we had to win three out of five to win the game. Everyone was so excited; adrenalin was pumping. The sound of our fans cheering made us want to keep playing and show them that we could clinch the match. I sat down between games to take a breather, and get myself focused for the next game. We were pumped and ready for set number three.

The referee called me in. I ran to all my teammates to share high fives and positive words. We took the first two games, we had the momentum. Everyone started off playing the same way… amazing. We did everything we could to earn our points and it was paying off. After every point we came together as a team and celebrated, no matter if we won the point or not; we showed what the word team really means. But even though we played extremely hard, we couldn’t pull off a win. After game three our heads were down, everyone was disappointed in themselves, and it looked like the game was over, although it was time to play a fourth set. My entire body ached, my tongue lacked saliva, and I was breathing hard, I was afraid I was going to vomit. None of that mattered; I wanted to win. During this set we played good, but not as good as we had showed earlier. By the end, we were at an all time low; we had no momentum or excitement anymore. We played tight and scared; we ended up losing that set. In the huddle, everyone was yelling about how they wanted to win. “Well then let’s go out there and do it,” I said.

After the previous game everyone was upset, we could have played better. But this was a new game and it was time to play. We fought long and hard but we just couldn’t do it. The points went back and forth but in the end our opponents came out on top. I felt terrible. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. The thought of us losing filled my head. I didn’t even want to shake the opponents’ hands because I was so mad. I didn’t even make it into the locker room and the tears started to come. I sat there with my towel over my head and waited for our coaches to come and talk to us. All they could say is how proud of us they were. For some reason that didn’t make me feel any better. But then my coach said, “Even though we fell, at least we fell forward.” I sat there and thought for a minute, replaying the game in my head. What did he really mean by that?

Even though we lost, we played amazing. We have never played so good in our whole volleyball careers. After this game I had big plans for my team, and more confidence in them and myself than I ever had. I wasn’t completely satisfied with my performance, but I walked out of the gym with my head held high, knowing I had fallen forward.