My volleyball team was a small but important community I was able to be a part of during my years of playing volleyball in the Varsity team. My volleyball endeavours as a school activity started in 11th grade when I already loved volleyball. I was unable to join the team in the prior year, most likely because of an injury during tryouts. My 11th-grade year was when I could finally be a part of the team. The team consisted of 3 seniors, 6 sophomores, 1 freshman player, and a few of my friends as juniors, and I hadn’t talked to the people outside of my grade as much before. As an introvert like myself, I didn’t feel confident in fitting in with the team, even though I was determined to perform well and become a starting member. As volleyball is about teamwork and being vocal on and off the court, I had to force myself to be vocal, encourage each other with our plays, and work together as a team in order to win. Unfortunately, before the crucial tournaments of the season, I injured myself and had to play handicapped throughout the tournament matches. This meant that I would be on the bench a lot of the times, and only put on the court in times of need. Fighting through the pain, I taped my fingers and tried as hard as I could in the matches I played so that I could boost my team’s chances of winning even if by a small amount.
The following year in my final year of playing volleyball in high school, my role was a little different in the team. I was a senior, one of the oldest players on the team, and together with my friends had to lead the team as role models and have a larger impact on the team’s atmosphere and chances of winning. As I had become a better volleyball player, I was able to gain confidence and be a lot more vocal on and off the court. With new players coming into the team filling in the spaces left by the former seniors’ absence, some of these players were very new to the sport. With my experience of playing volleyball in a team from my prior year, I now had the responsibility to teach and assist the newer players.
Off the court, I tried to give advice to the new players on how they can better themselves regarding their techniques, skills, and strategies. I was also able to give more detailed advice to players in the same position in volleyball as me. Playing in the “opposite/right” hitter role and the “left” hitter role, I gave players advice such as on how to approach a spike and how to effectively position when receiving or waiting to approach a spike.
On the other hand, my responsibilities on the court were to stay calm and concentrated in the game, so that the other players could follow and perform their own specific roles on the court. This was especially important as some of the players would have ups and downs in their performance in-game, most often due to nerves or their changes in mood due to winning/losing prior games. My first tournament was a success taking 1st place, as a result of this, and my team’s delightful performance.
On another note, unfortunately again, I injured myself now on the first day of my last high school volleyball tournament. Although at first, I didn’t think of it as much, it dawned on me how painful it became after playing a few of the first games. That night, I tried desperately to ice my injury, and be ready for the next day of the tournament. However, my injury did not heal itself in just another night, and I had to watch my team compete as I sat on the bench. During this time, as the team had lost an important player on the team (myself), I felt the responsibility to do as much as I can for the team, in order for us to succeed and win. My team had to change and adjust the strategies that we worked with before, and I tried my best to contribute as much as I can for the team. On top of the obvious support from the bench, I played at the backcourt of the team as I was a good passer, and as it hurt when I jumped (jumping is mainly for front-court players). My team wasn’t able to win the tournament and placed 3rd, and so I still feel regretful of injuring myself, but I also feel like I tried to fulfil my responsibilities in the circumstance I got myself into.
Now, after the seasons are over, I feel I still have the responsibility to teach my lowerclassmen volleyball, if they ask for advice, as I now have a lot more experience playing volleyball, especially on the court. I wish the best for the future volleyball team of YIS.