Thank You, Girls Volleyball Team

Sarah Wang, Staff Writer

Upon starting volleyball, I didn’t have many thoughts about the concept of team spirit. I thought that the saying of “going down as a team” was all talk, and that no one was actually willing to make real sacrifices for other people. I thought that the purpose of joining a team was either for individual improvements or to gain from the skills of others; and that ultimately, everyone works for their own benefits. However, joining the Apache Volleyball team for two years really taught me the value of teamwork and the importance of maintaining team spirit when working with a group of people. Through the harsh and fun times that my teammates and I went through, I understood the actual meaning of teamwork and the deep chemistry behind working as a group.

For me, my first year on the volleyball team was most memorable. Since it was my first year on a high school team, I was not used to the sheer pressure and the competitiveness in the practices and games. I remember the first game we played against LaSalle High School, and I was struggling against the pacing and the general intensity of the atmosphere–the vastness of the gym and the loud audience, not to mention that big girl in the front row hammering balls down on us. Despite the obvious disadvantage, my teammates were giving it their all–getting on the floor and diving for every ball, not caring if they face-planted on the court or if their knees smashed the ground. Seeing this, I remember being really surprised since of all the teams I played with, none of them would be willing to go as far as this.

Seeing my teammates’ ambitions influenced me as well; I don’t have the audacity to be lazy while my team is making sacrifices. With that mindset, I begin to treat each game with more seriousness. Another one of my fondest memories on the team was when we played against Crescenta Valley High School. We had a disadvantage of 6-14; one mistake, and we would lose the game. Normally, people would be terrified of the odds and would refuse to push forward. However, my team was laser focused. My heart was racing in fear of losing the point; I remember repeating the one goal in my head: don’t mind the points, just get the ball over the net. Slowly, we began turning the tables in our favor and ultimately took the victory. When we were cheering and embracing each other on the court, I felt genuine joy at the accomplishment we made. Without either one of us, we wouldn’t end with the happiness and the satisfaction that we felt that day.

The most memorable moment of all, however, had to be the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Our team was up against one of the top five teams in our league, and everyone expected us to lose since we didn’t place at all. Their gym was covered with posters with red paint screaming “WE’RE GOING TO WAR” and similar phrases. Their parents used police tape to tape up an area in the bleachers, and decorated that area with a barrier of rods and green camouflage clothes. They themselves dressed up in army uniforms with paint smeared over their faces, screaming and waving their posters. It was chaotic, to say the least. We had a very hard time focusing with all the noises, such as the “BOOM!” sound effect and roaring made by the audience every time our opponents scored a point. It was a long and hard battle; we took it to five sets, and everyone was exhausted. My body was tense the entire time, determined to make the most out of every ball my teammates gave me. I think that’s the beauty of volleyball, you put your all into getting the ball up for another teammate, in the hopes that the latter will score and not waste your efforts. This is a game where everyone has to put all their trust in each other in order to win.

Upon scoring that winning point, we all bundled together in a crushing ball of embrace. Some, including me, were crying. At that moment, I didn’t care for the clammy feeling of my teammates sweat or the dirt stains on our white jerseys, I just remembered being so flabbergasted in the moment that we actually achieved something seemingly impossible. It was then that I realized how much I valued the bond we had then and my appreciation for all my teammates and my coach for their efforts.

So thank you, Apache Volleyball team, for teaching me the importance of teamwork and giving me such a memorable experience. I love the intense feeling of competition and the memories we made with each other. Nothing can make me love volleyball more than the feeling of success and exhilaration that can be shared with each other upon overcoming an obstacle together. 

 

Photos courtesy of G C