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I overcame benchwarming

Joined: 5/21/2011
Posts: 1
I laced up my white Mizuno volleyball shoes and pulled up my Nike calf socks, swooshes out. My team and I huddled in the middle of the court anticipating our next domination. Varsity volleyball had a certain ring to it. There was an instant respect athletes received when their names were announced in a crowded gym following the Star Spangled Banner. You had to have an extra level of dedication to your passion in order to walk around school in that coveted letterman. It was not a title given, it was earned, or so I thought. What I did not realize last Fall as a first year varsity player was that, that same veneration was excluded from non-starters. I can still feel the instantaneous punch to my stomach I felt after my coach did not call out my number on the starting line up at the first match of the season. And I can still taste the hot tears streaming down my cheeks driving home, sulking in my apparent failure regardless that we had won. I made the decision while sobbing in the arms of my best friend Abby, that no matter how embarrassing it was to be caught warming the bench, I was not going to quit on volleyball. Everyday for the rest of the season I worked. I sacrificed two and a half hours every week day to play through hell. I gave up Friday night football games, necessary sleep, and a social life in exchange for throbbing muscles and extremely late night homework sessions, all for the promise of playing time. There is no cliché ending to this story, at the end of the season I was not miraculously voted MVP or granted some high end athletic scholarship, in fact I still sat the bench a lot of the time. Over the course of season I got in total maybe fifteen minutes of playing time, but the things I learned went farther beyond my less than impressive Google statistics. What you would not find published next to my near .000 hitting average was the fierce jump serve I developed over those three months or the buckets of sweat I gave to keep the ball up during practice. And you especially would not find the self perseverance and countless sacrifices I made to be able to say that I play Sundevil volleyball. Last season, I realized that you can be one of the least played athletes on an incredible team, and still be a tremendous player. And most of all I understood what it took to work your way straight from the bottom and act with enough resilience to make it to the top and overcome being labeled as a benchwarmer.
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