It’s been seven months since our championship game and five months since the club league was supposed to start— these months have been far from easy. I miss my coaches, my teammates, and even conditioning at the end of practice. But the most menial tasks during a practice are what I miss the most. I guess there is some truth in the saying “you’ll only miss it when it’s gone”.
The hours spent passing drills and icing every aching muscle: volleyball isn’t just a sport but my life. I’ve been playing volleyball since I was seven and have participated in club volleyball since I was twelve. Going to practices everyday is all that I know. The girls on my team are some of my best friends, but I rarely get to see them outside of regular practices. I’ve never been fond of practicing alone, always opting for partner drills and group games. But I guess this pandemic has taught me that even though I am separated from my teammates, I am still connected with them through our sport.
My favorite pastime has been on FaceTime, where my teammates and I simulate our regular practices. Some of us are outside our houses or in a public playground, all working through our normal warm-up and practice drills. It makes it feel like we are all together, despite being separated. I wake up the next morning with the familiar aching muscles and tender forearms to repeat the same schedule all over again. What may seem repetitive and pointless to many is what keeps our team alive. I’ve never missed my team as much as I have the last few months— and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve ever spent more time on FaceTime either.
I’m left with the hope that our season will run smoothly next year, tournaments won’t be cancelled, and we can finally return to real face-to-face practices. In this time apart, I find myself rewatching some of our old games. Reliving moments in this sport remind me of how much I love volleyball and it subdues its absence in my life.
One day I’ll be able to walk through the familiar gym doors and get back on court. But until then, I’ll keep missing my coaches, teammates, and volleyball.
Written by: Alina Fowler