She seems nice, but there was still a part of her that scared me. Maybe it was the fact that she could do it, that she could go the distance. Or maybe it was that she was just better than me, better at the game, better at life. The truth was that I was the worst on the team, I had potential and I knew that, but my mind and body seem to be two completely different people these days. They were like best friends a long long time ago, now they seemed to be enemies. And right now it felt as if there was nothing that I can do about that.
I felt the tears well up behind my eyes as Euimji slammed the ball down, the ball that would never be mine. No must think positive, got to think positive. It was my turn again, the ball was out of the setters arms before I was even ready, my hands flew forward then back behind my back and then forward. My feet were trying there best to fallow. Yes this is good, my hand was up ready to receive the ball and smack it down onto the other side of the court. A perfect spike that would have my coach appraising my athletic ability, that would have her asking were I had been doing all along……. But that didn’t happen, my right hand collided with the ball to soon, I watched in slow motion as I jammed my finger into the leather ball. Owe! The ball immediately fell from my hand, making a soft thud as it hit the gym floor. My coach didn’t even give me a second glance; she grabbed another ball and tossed it to the setter as I got it out of the way. She had already forgotten about me, I quickly made my way over to the next net where I would have to relive the same kind of torture over again, I think somewhere deep down I knew that I was getting better, but I wasn’t quite there yet.
The ball flew off my hands into the ball basket; I began once again mentally preparing myself for another blow to my self esteem. I can do this, I can do this! I chanted in my head, the pain in my finger was already forgotten. I started to go over the steps again forward one big step with your left leg, forward another big step with right, then plant left shoulder length next to it. You can do this, you got this. What should happen? Oh just another mishap with my brain, arms and legs. The ball flew over the net yes, but not because I did everything right, but because I went for it not caring what I was doing. All that did for me was make me run farther to go and retrieve the damn thing!
I swerved around as Euimji went to take her turn, the ball didn’t make it over the net, but at least she had all of the steps down. God what I would give to be you! I groped inside. She smiled at me and reached out her hand for a high five, “Nice job,” she said in her thick Korean accent. I smiled at her, she was to proud of herself to realize how much I hated myself right then. Why are you beating up on this girl, you barley even know her. And yet you keep comparing yourself to her. Yes it was true on the first day of daily doubles she was probably the worst girl there, but now it looked as if she might actually have a fighting chance. What was a girl to do?
I quickly made myself think of the good side of me being in volleyball, I was a good passer, and I could set, sort of. But it was true that I had no chance at serving, at least for awhile. I had really been proud of myself, practicing on my over hand serve fifteen minutes a day at least. My serve had really seemed to improve, instead of zero out of ten, I got two. That was improvement no matter how small it was. And DJ had even said it, that I was getting better, was she just saying that because she felt sorry for me. Because of the last time that I had been placed on the spot, because of lack of serving. I shuddered as I reminisced on the one truly terrible moment of being on the high school volleyball team. The tears had flown so freely whether they were for the stress of the situation or the embarrassment, I would never know, nor would I care. Those tears had changed me somehow, not mentally or physically. They had changed how the high school girls would perceive me, oh she’s such a cry baby or she’s not strong enough for this sport, is what they were all probably thinking, let alone saying to each other. The older high school girls especially juniors and Seniors seemed to have these really close knit groups, and they seemed to not really want to go the distance in reaching out to us younger girls.
As I looked about the rest of the team, I realized that this is how it would always be. There would always be some sort of division between the four grades, it was like there was a fine line down the center. One that only the bravest would cross. Sure the seniors and juniors were nice to us freshmen, but would they really ever come to accept our talents. Would they ever stop rolling there eyes as they watched us make mistake after mistake. The answer was no, they wouldn’t this is who they are, they see us as little people and they are the big people nothing, would ever change. And I could accept that, because I knew someday I would be just like them, but I would try I little harder to bridge this gap between us to sow it up and make a new sweater out of it.
It was my turn again and I knew that everyone behind me was watching, maybe even some girls from the other side of the court. Somehow I didn’t care anymore, right now I couldn’t make it, but someday I would, someday that would be me stepping swiftly, flinging my arms about all in the right way. My hand would be strong, strong enough to smack that ball at the right moment in time, so that it would zoom down onto the other side of the net slamming hard into the opponents face. And then the referee would yell, point!