If I had a do-over, I would’ve tried out for volleyball instead of cheerleader in high school. I was a starter on the junior high team and we took second in state so I had a good shot at high school, but I was wooed by pom poms and pleats.
Applying the decade of dance and gymnastics lessons I’d taken to promote school spirit at games and pep rallies seemed like fun. I was unaware I was joining a Nazi regime squad where I’d be required to pledge my entire teenage life and loyalty to a Führer adviser obsessed with dominating the world with cheer. I managed to escape my senior year, but by then my volleyball skills were behind and my height was stunted by oppression.
So, now I recapture lost glory days by playing ladies church volleyball on Thursday nights through the fall.
The full gamut of game is represented. There are girls who were high school/college stars who come to relive real glory days. They’re sticklers for rules and spike for blood. They kind of scare me, even as I envy them.
Then there are the wannabes, like me, who played enough competitive level to hold our own on the court, but not enough to look really cool.
The largest representation is usually a group of what I call “boomers.” They can put their hands together and “boom” the ball back and forth over the net—and off walls, ceilings and bystanders—but the finesse of the “bump, set, spike” format is completely lost on them.
Then there are those who don’t know a spike from spitball, but seize the opportunity to ditch dishes and diapers for a night to come play. Whatever brings us together with whatever skills we got, it’s all good. It’s lots of fun, and lots of funny.
Last night was the first time two generations of Rich women came to play. My oldest daughter is temporarily living at home between college transfers and, though not a volleyball buff, she’s old enough to play with the grown-up girls so I invited her to come along with her old mom.
She made sure I knew I was her “old” mom too.
As the usual playful trash talk started cross court, my daughter joined in and actually called me “Oldie” at one point, which I felt was a little below the belt. Just because I whiffed a spike and ended up rolling under the net and landing on my back on the opponent’s side incoherent of where I was for a minute, doesn’t mean I’m old.
Okay, maybe it does.
But, my daughter’s volleyball skills qualify her as a boomer at best! Though she does have youth on her side and it showed in her game. What she lacked in skill she made up for in speed and agility. What I have in skill was lost on obscured depth perception and joint deterioration.
It was fun to have my baby there though. I’m not sure what she thought about playing volleyball with women twice her age, but she was a good sport about it. She had to be—when her team lost. Hah!