Now, let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not a tall guy. And my vertical leap? Not so much.
So while there are many sports I enjoy, volleyball has never been my idea of a good time.
Still, for a teenage guy like myself, the prospect of joining the Camosun women’s volleyball team for an afternoon wasn’t entirely unappealing. How quickly would I realize that the Chargers’ practice would be no cake walk.
Chargers coach Chris Dahl, a former teacher of mine at Mount Douglas Secondary, started with a brief introduction to the team. Although the women’s volleyball squad is the only Camosun team to have never won a championship, it’s been ranked in the top 10 in Canada for the past several years. With skilled players coming from all over the province and Alberta, not to mention athletes ranging from first-year rookies to fifth-year veterans, Dahl believes they stand a good chance of finally bringing home that first championship trophy.
The players started me out with a “light warmup” and before we even hit the floor, I was already sweating a little too much. Moving quickly into the first drill, one person threw the ball over the net to be bumped to another standing in front of the net. Unlike the players, who did it all so easily and fluidly, I did not. Seeing me inches from eating the volleyball more often than not, Coach Dahl soon took pity on my stinging forearms and offered a quick few tips on proper technique.
Moving into game-like drills of 3-on-3, my little gym class experience did not prepare me to face volleyballs hit at blistering speeds. As my return attempts ricocheted everywhere other than over the net, at least the girls were nice enough to tell me I was getting better. Good sportsmanship is obviously part of the Chargers’ mantra as well as athleticism.
We finished with a serving drill, and here – finally! – I found my volleyball niche. Can a sporting career be built upon one skill? Probably not. So with an “ace” serve by the end of practice, I think I’ll end my volleyball career on that positive note.