The adrenaline rushes, even when you sit in the stands. But one thing I have learned is that once they take the court, there is nothing you as a parent can do about the outcome. The athlete in you might want to spring out of the seat, the coach in you might think you have the game winning knowledge, but, as a parent, besides the loud show of support, which may or may not have the outcome you desire, our job is done. We get the long ball, the years of down time, grind time, drives to and from practice before they get their license, maybe a little conversation in the hotel rooms or in the kitchen after practice as they grow. We get to teach them, and better yet model for them, that the process is more important that the result…and that the work put in will pay off in the long run, even when the ball hits the ground too many times on your side in one match.
But that didn’t happen yesterday, the focus that I thought I saw from the outset was real. Guys, even when you were down two, and five points from being ousted in the quarters, you kept your composure, locked in, and came home with a National Championship. As a mom, of course I think this team is special. I have watched four of them play together since they were 12, being the highlight of Luke’s days when he wasn’t as happy about our move to the beach as he is today. Five of them have been together since 13’s, and seven of them since they were 14…and the rest have been welcomed with open arms, adding levels of talent, discipline, and heart from both the court and the bench. Knowing how fast a year goes, and how quickly things can change, I wanted to take the ride home last night and this morning to sit with the feeling. These boys hold a special place in my heart and will for the rest of my life. Long after volleyball, this group will remember their triumphs and struggles together as a team, this is their first fraternity.
Way to get up and show up boys…not just the last four days, but on the days you didn’t feel like it, on the days when you felt like it wasn’t fair, or the ball didn’t do what you thought it should, or when you missed out on something fun going on outside the gym. Yes, there is a balance, but gold medals don’t come easy, with the vision and grit you have shown, you guys deserve this one. It’s both a privilege and a grind to play at this spectacular level.
With all the talent on display at this amazing tournament, mindset made the difference. I hope you guys are sitting back this morning, resting happily, knowing that you took your best out there and left it all on the court…boy was it golden in every way. Take a day or two, enjoy it, and then get back at it, whether that’s in volleyball or in life, because in the end, they aren’t really all that different.