Obstacles are placed in our way to see if what we want is worth fighting for. I was eight years old when my best friend and I were sitting out in the front yard when a young man came up to us. After introducing himself, he asked us if we played sports, and at a young age, I expressed him that I wished to play volleyball on my school team when I was older. Even now, I reflect on that conversation and contemplate on how long I have had this dream to play on a volleyball team. Little did I realize my journey to playing competitive volleyball would be one with disappointments, obstacles, and a discovery of my abilities.
When tryouts rolled around at the end of the seventh grade, I was extremely excited. This was my first chance to earn a spot on the school team. I informed my friends and family I was trying out for the volleyball team. The first day, I realized I was not as skilled or athletic as the girls who had been playing their entire lives; however, I believed I still had a chance to be selected; after all I had never failed before. On the last day of tryouts, the coach informed all the girls he would post the results online in a couple of days. I impatiently waited for the results, and finally one day, my mom announced the scores were online.
I searched carefully, but my name wasn’t on the list, and I looked again to be sure, but I was not part of the team. I was devastated, and I felt as if I were a complete disappointment. I dreaded confronting my friends at school the following day and having to answer I was not on the volleyball team. I believed all my friends would judge me for failing, but no one cared. I realized this meant more to me than to my friends and no one was preoccupied by my failure. My failure deeply affected me and my confidence, but my parents told me this was a minor setback.
My family did not let me renounce my dream, and they helped me prepare for the next year’s tryouts by driving me to club tryouts, countless lessons, and intramurals. Daily, my brothers and I would practice in our backyard just tossing the ball around. Every day, I would improve, serve the ball further, and my confidence would grow. My dad encouraged me to attempt to play for club teams, and even if I didn’t earn a spot on the team, at least I would gain practice and experience. I tried out for four club teams, and I didn’t earn a spot on any of them, but I believed my skills were improving.
By chance, I found one club was having their tryouts much later than all the others, and when I showed up, I was the only one there. They asked me to play for them, and I agreed, but they resulted to be private lessons. Every Monday, I would practice for a couple of hours with a student coach. Occasionally, I would play scrimmages for other teams. Most importantly, I enjoyed those weekly practices. In the final weeks, leading up to the school tryouts, I attended a variety of intramurals and camps. I enjoyed playing with other girls, and I enjoyed the sport.
Even though I was usually the weakest player, I enjoyed playing the sport more than winning. When the time came, I was confident in my abilities and prepared to earn a spot on the team. I went into the tryouts outwardly confident; however, inside I was slightly worried about competing against the girls who had been on the team the previous year. When it came time to play in front of the coaches, I was surprised to see how well I was doing. In fact, I was able to serve all the balls across the net and into the court, which was rare for me. I had underestimated my abilities, and I realized my hard work was paying off.
I waited for the result for the second time, but even if I did not earn a spot on the team, I was thankful my parents encouraged my dreams because I had enjoyed playing and practicing the sport. I did play for the freshman team, and in fact of the two teams, I made the ‘A’ team. I was grateful for my parents teaching me not to quit at the first obstacle, and my perseverance helped me to overcome obstacles and discouragement. Beyond being a part of the team, I was proud I had improved my skills and I had had the courage to come back and try out. I was looking forward to playing with my new teammates and just enjoying playing the sport.
Even when I felt distraught and on the verge of giving up, my mom and dad did not let me because they knew I could succeed. As a result of failing to earn a spot on the volleyball team, I matured and learned that always succeeding is not important. The first time tried out for the team, I was worried how others would view me, and being on the team would be something I could show off to my friends. However, by the second time I tried out, being part of the team was about being a team player and enjoying the sport rather than my outward appearance to others.
Now, I preserve aging the odds when I attempt to fulfill my goals. However, I know not to attempt to prove my worth to others because strangers’ opinions are not worth stressing over. I pursue goals that will please me and grow me a stronger person. I learned it is not always possible to succeed on the first attempt, and occasionally it takes a couple of tries to succeed, and overcoming hurdles similar this one has helped me become stronger mentally and emotionally. This situation taught me to work hard since achieving goals is not always effortless.