Thursday, September 21, 2006

I no longer hate volleyball

I never thought I’d say this but I’m actually starting to like volleyball. Trust me, no one is more surprised by this ironic turn of events than I am.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was a hardcore volleyball hater. Now, I’m buying kneepads so I can dive for the ball like everyone else.

Why the sudden flip-flop? It’s simple, really. The more I play, the better I get. The better I get, the more I enjoy it. I hardly even notice the forearm pain anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no superstar. I still suck. I mean, I’m so bad my teammates banned me from playing in a tournament last week. But, even so, they’re still some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Either that or I’ve got a serious case of Stockholm syndrome.

I think my teammates started to warm up to me when they realized I wasn’t going to give up and walk away. (Finally! People who appreciate my stubbornness!)

I scored a few bonus points when they found out I spent two hours on the train for the sole purpose of buying kneepads at the “local” sports store. They also found out about my secret training on Wednesday nights (turns out there is no secret anything in this town).

But the real turning point came on Saturday night when my teammates invited me out for drinks.

This wasn’t your average night out with the volleyball team. This was a "welcome party" in my honour. One of the girls baked a cake. One of the guys made dinner. Everyone was fun and friendly and went out of their way to make me feel like a part of the team.

Halfway through the night, two of the guys pulled out a pair of guitars and announced they had spent the past three weeks practicing a Canadian song to welcome me. They sat down at the front of the room, plugged in a mike, set up a sheet of music and started playing Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

Here were two guys who could barely speak English and yet they had gone to all the trouble to learn how to play (and sing) Harvest Moon. Just for me. It was such a kind and thoughtful gesture I wanted to cry. How could I hate volleyball after that?

It’s ironic how a sport that once filled me with fear and loathing has now become the highlight of my week. Believe it or not, I’m actually starting to like volleyball!

No comments: