Since my “How I Got Started in Fitness” post was so popular, I decided (under the tutelage of an unnamed website coach) to do a few posts about the sport I am passionate for…volleyball.

I play volleyball at least once a week all year round.  I’ve been playing indoor volleyball since 6th grade and I played every year all through high school including AAU teams (ah those were the days).  I became very good toward the end of high school but opted to play on a club team during college instead of participating in it as a varsity sport.

While I’ve had an occasional break in play since middle school, I’d have to say that volleyball games and tournaments have been a constant in my life ever since I started the sport.  I’ll mention again that most of my time has been spent playing indoor and although over the years I’ve moonlighted with sand volleyball, I never really developed a ‘game’.  I just used my indoor game to play in the sand, which is why I was never very good.

BUT this year…I hit the jack pot!  A very experienced sand player asked me to be his co-ed doubles partner for the year.  Meet Ron…

The real Ron

Ron and his cool girlfriend JoAnne

Ron singing...(priceless)

While I know he looks really friendly in the photos it might surprise you to know that Ron and I have known each other for years but never really got along.  The first time we met included me screaming at Ron across the volleyball court at the bar league regarding the score and the readiness of the players (we were on opposing teams).  Since that day it’s been standard for our discussions to start out really well, somehow turn ugly, and occasionally include me getting up to walk away.

Notice the flag in background.

Thankfully something shifted this year, otherwise we’d be in major trouble.  As it happens, Ron and I played and practiced together all year in peace (miracle).  And even more than that, we actually got into a really positive groove of friendship, teamwork, and VICTORY!  Maybe that’s the beauty of having a common goal and being passionate about it; you can find a way to make things work.   I grew to really enjoy the dynamic between myself and my once hated coach/partner (ok hate is a strong word but it works for the story).

On my end, I found it was fun to have a coach telling me (queen of bossy) what to do and how to improve.  In fact I welcomed it (most of the time) because it took the pressure off me to figure things out for myself and coach myself while also trying to play the game.  For once it was my turn to be the student and it felt great to have a coach be so patient with me while I learned new and different aspects of the game.

Having a coach also helped me see the value personal training and monthly workout plans.  I experienced the reassurance of having support, coaching, and correction as my coach and I worked toward a common goal. THANK YOU RON

Again notice the flag!

So far, Ron and I managed to win the AA co-ed league open division.  But alas, we went to my first (his 1 millionth) tournament and of course Ron puts us in the highest division.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  I had just one small factor to contend with…30 mph winds blowing diagonally across the court!  In fact, I can’t believe there wasn’t a hurricane blip on the radar during our tournament.  That’s how hard the wind was blowing.

Great.

For someone like me the diagonal wind basically spelled toilet bowl bracket.  After practicing and playing all year, I wasn’t even close to ready to adjust to the wind.  My serves sucked all day long and so did my offense since every time I went up to hit the ball flew in an s-shaped swivel back and fourth in front of my hand.

Workin' on my skills

While our record for the day ended up being fairly embarrassing, I will admit that there were many positives that came out of this day of new challenges.

  • Playing against these experienced and high level sand players challenged me.
  • It was the first time in years I was able to get ‘in the zone’ during a game
  • I saw in myself the glimmer of a budding game as a sand player

All-in-all three really good things for a day spent doing what I love, being in the sun, and swimming in the huge beautiful waves.  It was an awesome first tournament even though Ron forced me to play at a higher level than I was ready for.  We’ve got another one coming up in a week, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!