Playing for a Purpose

Siobhan - Wasilla, Alaska
Entered on March 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in myself.

Making the varsity volleyball team my sophomore year wasn’t even a thought in my head. During tryouts all I had been worrying about was making the JV team. After the last day of tryouts, when my dad called and told me that I had made the varsity squad, he left me speechless. I thought that the coach had made a mistake. I didn’t understand why I, as a sophomore, had made the team when a junior in my position, and in my mind a better player, had not. To my surprise, my fellow sophomores had thought I would make varsity. Apparently I was the only one out of the loop. I was the only person who didn’t believe in me.

The first practice of the season had me waking up with a knot in my stomach. I didn’t think I could do it. I was seriously contemplating asking the coach to swing me down to JV, the team that I thought I belonged on. In my heart of hearts though, I knew I would never actually ask her. That first two hour practice felt like it dragged on for two years. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Every practice, for the first two weeks of the season, I was shaking as I walked into the gym, scared of making a mistake. Even though I didn’t know why I had been picked, I didn’t want the coach to have any reason to second guess why she had chosen me in the first place. Then our first tournament came, the Valley Jamboree. It would be the first time that we would play together as a team in a real game, with real points and real glory. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My stomach was writhing with snakes. I had the worst jitters.

Partway through our first match I realized something. I realized that the rest of my team trusted me to have their backs, so why didn’t I believe that I had my own. The coach had obviously seen something in me. Apparently everyone else believed in me but I didn’t believe in myself. My epiphany in the middle of that fateful game changed my whole outlook. I decided that I needed to believe in myself as much as my team, my coach and my family did. None of them had ever questioned my skills or why I had made the varsity team. Why should I?

To believe in myself was one of the best decisions I ever made. It has made me a more confident volleyball player, but it has helped me off of the court too. I don’t doubt my ideas and thoughts as much as I used too. Because of that moment I have become stronger and more understanding of myself. That year playing on that team, with those girls, with that coach, made me believe in myself and my abilities.