The Winners’ Circle

August 8, 2010 at 7:24 am 2 comments

Yesterday, I played volleyball for the first time in about two years.

My head was in the game. My heart was in the game. My arms and legs? Not so much. Fifty percent of my serves just barely made it over the net. The other fifty just didn’t. My jumps, or the attempt thereof, weren’t what you’d call vertical. My sets were clumpy, lacking the height and the control that, at one time, I was (I’ll admit it) kinda proud of. Oddly enough, I did actually dive a time or two—apparently due to some sorta spastic kamikaze muscle memory—but the current body is way more rock than roll.

Thud.

In short (and I’ve never felt shorter), I played badly.

Worst of all perhaps, yesterday, I walked out of my house wearing shorts to run around in the heat in front of a large group of people, some with cameras.

It should have been a heart-breaking disaster, a big ol’ mid-life bum out, the final crumbling of the little shred of ego I pretend not to cling to.

But here’s the thing.

I wasn’t stumbling around alone on that court. I was part of a team. We do not wear a uniform. We have no locker room. We have no coach or strategy. We don’t even meet at the same gym on the same day of the week anymore. But we’ve known each other a long time and remain connected by a unique mix of memories, simpatico, respect, abuse, alcohol, silliness, and true affection. You know, we’re friends.

I don’t need trophies. I don’t need prizes. I have no need for any new bragging rights beyond this:   Yesterday we sat, as the playoffs continued, in the winners’ circle.

We sat in a circle of lawn chairs. Relaxed in the shade. Sharing picnic food and cold beer. We slipped out of our volleyball shoes, peeled sweaty socks, unhooked braces, and laughed our freakin’ asses off.

We used to play volleyball multiple nights a week and tournaments on the weekends. My life pretty much revolved around it. It took pretty much all of my free time and, in gear, gas, travel, fees, and entertainment, a significant portion of my income.

There is a part of me that doesn’t miss it:  that’d be my right shoulder. (And the feet, knees, and back.)

But, the rest of me? Yeah. Most of me misses it. A lot.

Cheers my friends. See you next year.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary, Life Preservers. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Angel  |  August 12, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I got the chills as I read this fantastic blog and recalled the memories. Never have I seen a more creative writer. I only wish I could have shared in the festivities with all of my friends. I will definitely see you next year — come hell or high water!

    Like

    Reply

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