Set One particular” — Lesson 1
For seasoned athletes, in spite of age and a relentless clock, the crucial is to keep the course. There needn’t be an expiration day stamped on the psyche, either self-imposed or by general public affirmation. Place another way, if 1 enjoys a healthy brain and body, if joints nevertheless flex with relative ease and ease and comfort, it truly is attainable to play till Medicare kicks in, and for many, well beyond that venerable age. For its numerous devotees, it really is a sport for the ages! The game of the large internet, a remarkably wonderful, vigorous and competitive sport, when performed effectively, when played by the principles. The uninitiated need to have only watch university volleyball or specialist beach or Olympic volleyball.
To illustrate and to cite an exemplary situation in position, Steve and Gigi have played for ages, considering that 1974 to be correct. The wonderful game carries on to consume their disposable leisure time. For them, it really is a kind of obsession, and one that has ongoing unabated for much more than 40 years. Now at age 72, Steve, and sixty eight, Gigi, they’re even now in its grip.
Obsession is an apt description. In a way, it all commenced at the bell, a telephone bell, and like a current among extremes, it seems always to race between foreboding and hopeful anticipation. Spurred by that opening bell, they soon grew to become prizefighters fired with passion, roped in, originally by the concept, but in the prolonged operate, eaten by the game itself, obsessed.
The ringing phone was loud and insistent. Steve refused to shift. Obvious with annoyance in her eyes, Gigi put down a guide and walked swiftly, virtually ran to subdue the obnoxious thing.
“Shall I just get it?” she requested with extravagant sarcasm. “Indeed, hullo!”
Steve paid out no interest at very first, irritated by the instrument’s persistence, its electricity to interrupt.
“Oh, hi John. What? Yeah, we’re equally fantastic, just hanging out. How’s Joan? That is very good.”
Steve’s interest moved slowly, as did his gaze, to a discussion that was one particular-sided and cryptic. Her eyes widened. She turned. She paced.
“You think we must do what?” Gigi requested into the instrument, a concern wrapped in incredulity, however with a rising degree of pleasure. Enthusiasm seemed to improve the present working by means of the wire.
“What,” he said. Who is that?” The question fell flat as if inaudible, trivial.
“Join a league? Partners, co-ed. Yeah, I played a minor in substantial university. Steve? No. I never think so. Maybe at picnics, or in the backyard with loved ones.”
“What did I do in the backyard?” he requested. Another feckless issue, no reply predicted or presented.
“That sounds just fantastic,” Gigi said with increasing exhilaration. “Where? And it starts in January? That’s following month! Yeah, yeah… exercise, one thing we can do as couples with close friends. Okay, wonderful! Alright, we will speak on Monday and you can permit us know the time and plan.” She hung up the cellphone.
“Was that John O’Connor?” Steve asked. “What have been you chatting about? What league?”
“I just really like the thought,” Gigi replied. “Yeah, it was John. You and I, the O’Connors and the Keegan’s are heading to perform volleyball in a co-ed league. The six of us. We start off up coming month. We’ll enjoy at a north aspect school. It truly is in close proximity to Sherman on Eco-friendly Tree Highway.”
“Hold out a moment,” Steve commenced. “We’ve never played. We don’t know the game. Do they have rigorous principles? Are the other teams in the league skilled, talented? How are we heading to do that?”
“Ach… never fear,” explained Gigi. “I performed in school, and we will understand. We will get better. volleyball positions will be fantastic exciting. We are going to have exercise, time with buddies. It’ll be terrific. I’m really searching ahead to this. Usually are not you?”
“Volleyball,” he explained, a powerful observe of apprehension in his tone. “A league,” he continued, a large sigh punctuating. And that was the sum overall of any objection or argument he may possibly have offered in opposition. But, inside the privacy of his ideas, there was this: “I’m married for, what, four or so months. I’m just getting employed to things. Now I’m in a volleyball league. How extended will this final. My god, life’s a runaway freight prepare it moves together way also rapidly!”
Despite an inauspicious commencing, reluctance on the element of at least one particular participant, their volleyball-taking part in occupation, 1 that would previous for forty several years and over and above, began in 1974.
It was in early September of that calendar year. Six novices appeared on a wooden-plank flooring at the gymnasium of a north side Milwaukee faculty, some anxious, some relaxed and self-assured. They lined up, three in front and three in the back again row. They realized that significantly. The opposition won the very first services. The ball was a meteor, something shot from a cannon. One of the 6 produced make contact with with the ball, palms up, lifting the volleyball a few feet skyward. It dropped to the floor, amongst entrance and back rows of gamers. Even the ball seemed embarrassed.
A shrill whistle wrenched their collective consideration from the shock of the serve and its feckless receipt to the referee’s ladder of authority. “Unlawful strike,” the referee shouted. She descended, looked at each and every of the 6 in flip and questioned, “Has any of you at any time played volleyball prior to?” The question was wound in a thread of astonishment.
“Uh, not really. I mean, some of us played a tiny in large university, but that was a although back.” The reply arrived from Gigi.
“Well,” the referee began, with a nod of apology to the opposing team, now standing and staring at the neophytes, arms akimbo, a appear of supreme annoyance on their collective expression. “The very first factor you should know about league volleyball, and the guidelines that use, is that you receive a services with your arms outstretched like this, arms clasped collectively in some way.” She demonstrated the “passing” strategy, tossing a volleyball to every in turn so that they could find out the correct arms and arms configuration. “And when you set the ball to your hitter, you may possibly not capture and toss the ball, but relatively… well, allow me present you.” She shown the “environment” technique.
None of them remembers that 1st outing with any perception of pleasure or gratification, as they ended up ruined, unremittingly. They expressed many thanks to that variety and client referee, and then to the opposing team associates, as they slunk absent from the court that very first, fateful evening of league volleyball. They might not have scored a solitary point, unless their opponents produced an mistake. Even that probability is lost — possibly by style — to the element of memory that shields one’s fragile psyche.