Now or Never
The following events are based on a true story. Suddenly the door opened, and the harsh buzzer loudly echoed throughout the gymnasium. I stood up off our bench, walked onto the court, and slowly looked around me. To my right was the score board. It read 24-25. It was a district volleyball game that would determine if we went to state, and we were down by 1. The day had definitely taken its toll on us. We had already played 2 games, both immediately before this one, making this our 13th match in a row. My legs felt like they were made of lead, and my right shoulder ached from hitting. On top of that, the floor burns on my knees had started to bleed again, and I didn’t even dare to sniff my armpits. I felt the drops of sweat that rested on my temple. There was a lump in my throat from the pressure that I knew we all felt. I consciously tried to snap out of it and overrun my my nerves with confidence.
I focused on breathing steadily as I blocked out the noise of the crowd. Everyone in the stands was on their feet. Some were biting their nails, some nervously shaking their legs. The football team stood screaming and pounding their chests like animals. Proud parents watched in anxiety. Even rivaling teams watched from the stands whispering nervously amongst themselves. The other team walked back onto the court, and we stared intensely at our rivals.
We were playing Bear Creek. Every year they proved to be a powerhouse team that could dominate the league with ease. They looked mad, most likely wondering how they had let the score get so close. Our school’s volleyball team had never won a game at districts before. Two hours prior, we’d changed that. We’d also never been to state before. We were three points away from changing that as well. The game was about to resume so we came into a huddle. We extended our arms into the air and linked fingers with each other. We smelled like BO: the smell of winners. Our captain, Hailey, stared intently into each of our eyes and gave a motivational speech. She said, “All of our hard work has come down to these next few plays. Don’t do it for Coach Ed, don’t do it for your parents, don’t do it for the fans. Do it for you. We deserve this. Tonight we can make history by being Seattle Lutheran’s first volleyball team to go to state. We can do it. It just takes 3 points and some stellar defense. Give it your best for these next couple plays and leave it all on the court, cause I guarantee you that you do not want to look back on this moment and regret not giving it everything you had.”
We had the serve, and luckily for us, Angel was up. She tossed the ball in the air and hit it. We watched it as it changed course through the air without spinning, exactly as it should. It was a good serve, but Bear Creek received it perfectly. My eyes followed the ball as they set their outside hitter, and in my head I reminded myself to stay collected and focus on my fundamentals. The towering hitter spiked it at me like a bullet. I kept my arms in a flat platform and used the momentum of the ball to guide it upwards. It stung my forearms as I put it right where it needed to be for my setter. She jammed her thumb in our last game, so she set the ball with a little spin on it. Our hitter approached the ball, jumped, flung her arms in the air, mustered all of the strength she had into her swing, and hit it in the net. It was now 24-26. We lost. Our jaws dropped in disbelief. In shock, we dragged ourselves to the bench. Some girls cried, some were angry, and some held their faces in their palms overwhelmed with disappointment. Our coach came over, quiet at first. He sat looking down and folded hands. We knew knew we let him down. On the edge of our seats, we sat waiting for his feedback. He looked up at us, then reminded us saying, “Winning would’ve been great, but sometimes you can grow as a person a lot more from losing.”
Hi, my name is Abbi and I’m one of the many artists at Seattle Lutheran. I love to sketch; it’s my escape. When I plug in my music and begin a piece, there’s no stopping me. I work for hours on end, yet somehow it feels like a fraction of the time. Unfortunately my right brain is only active after hours, so if I have bags under my eyes it’s safe to assume that something fantastic is probably in the works.