Chancelucky

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Last Tournament (volleyball)


Photo courtesy of Arctic Ferret


I sit in the first row of the bleachers behind court 1 at the UC Berkeley recreational center. My daughter backs up to prepare her approach for her jump float serve in the too tight space between the back line and the bleachers. It’s early in the game. The score is actually close, but there’s little doubt about the outcome. The group on the other side of the net is Golden Bear Forefront 18, one of the strongest teams in the country. They won the Crossroads Qualifier in 18 Open early in the year and won the regional championship two weeks ago. For a variety of reasons, my daughter’s team has struggled all year. As she steps back, I instinctively move my knees parallel to the bench and turn my body away from her to give her as much space as possible. I do not make direct eye contact with her. Whenever she is on the court, we don’t make eye contact.

She begins her jump and I do my other serve-watching ritual, something I’ve done for at least ten years now. I hold my breath and then exhale just at the top of her jump when she makes contact as if I can release whatever pressure is in the atmosphere of the gym to give the ball a little extra push. It works, the ball clears the net then heads towards the floor just behind the ten foot line on the right side. Before it touches the floor though Audrey Kuan manages to get a hand under the ball in the general direction of setter Blair Safir (Colgate) who zips it to Sophia Dunworth (Duke) who bounces it into the backcourt where the back row does little more than watch. A few Tarah Murrey (Cal) kills later and the game and the match are out of reach.

By this time tomorrow, my fifteen years as a junior volleyball parent will essentially be over. My daughter’s team has one more tournament at AAU’s in Orlando in June, but we can’t afford to go. Actually four members of her team also decided not to make the trip, so her team at AAU’s will be at least 50% different from the one with whom she started the season. In three months, my daughter will be playing on the East Coast for a small D1 College in the Big South Conference which almost no one in California has ever heard of. In other words hardly anyone “oohs” when we answer the inevitable question “What’s your daughter going to be doing next year?”

It’s not been a good year for “Oohs” in any case. Her high school team, after many years of success, degenerated to slightly above average. That means they got into the North Coast Section tournament then got annihilated in the second round by St. Mary’s and the nonstop “Ooh” that is Tarah Murrey, the #2 recruit in the 2008 class according to Prepvolleyball (the rest of the team had a lot to do with the result as well).

For whatever reason, Murrey’s been a presence in my daughter’s junior volleyball career ever since they were among a handful of 7th graders starting on high-level 14’s teams (my first volleyball posts were about trying to watch a tournament while standing behind really tall parents and more or less realizing what that boded for the future) Even then, it was hard to miss Tarah Murrey, already college size and a very good player, and Amanda Gil (UCLA) who at that point was 6’1 but still had difficulty jumping and swinging at the same time. My daughter was 5’3 and is probably about 5’6 now, which is the equivalent of being more or less invisible in the junior volleyball world at least when it comes to the prospect of getting time or notice in the front row or the prospect of being considered a prospect. I should mention that if Murrey were say 5’9”, she’s one of those tall players whose skills, court sense, and athleticism would still have gotten her a D1 scholarship. Angie Pressey, her direct predecessor at Cal is probably 5’8” (her level of athleticism however is probably rarer than whatever genes makes young women 6’4).

Amanda Gil’s dad Randy is more than 7 feet tall. Doug Murrey was drafted by the Warriors after starring at San Jose State. Tarah’s mom also was a great athlete and she’s close to as tall as dad. Her father once told me that Tarah’s mom was the real athlete in the family. I’m 5’9” and not especially athletic. My wife is noticeably shorter than I am but she’s mysteriously coordinated. We went to a batting cage once many years ago and she stepped up and hit seven live drives in a row. Bottom line, I’m the one who limited my daughter’s horizons in her chosen sport.

So, here I am at the Bayview Classic watching my daughter’s decidedly undistinguished team try to survive one last tournament with its dignity intact. At this point, they have no illusions. They’d be happy to come away with just one meaningful win to finish their year. Honestly, if that were to happen it would be a gift. As a whole, the team lost focus somewhere during the middle of the season. Senioritis set in. Players started prioritizing other activities, missed practices, even tournaments, and three team members including the whole back row left the team for various understandable reasons (not the coach or the players). As is often the case the reasons are always understandable, they just aren’t the sort of reasons that come up with more committed or successful teams.

At this point, the teams on the other side of the net have generally worked harder, wanted it more, and deserve to win the match more. Making matters worse, a lot of them are simply more talented and/or experienced in the first place. These are cold hard facts. Another simple but depressing fact - No team can win matches at this level with no back row (the team’s playing a 6’ tall right side with a bad elbow and shoulder at libero and she’s done well at it for someone playing completely out of position) and only three players who can consistently get a serve in play.

This last season has been a test of my daughter’s maturity and her love of the sport. Over the years, we’ve gotten used to the sound of her setting volleyballs off the open wall space near the high point of our living room ceiling and the rhythmic thud of her jump training after we go to bed at night and sometimes before we wake up in the morning. She’d sometimes come home late because she was running two miles after her high school practices. In the meantime, she sent out hundreds of e-mails to colleges, talked to coaches on her own, and even spent six months her junior year on the other coast playing with a team with more of a national profile (one of their wins last year was against Golden Bear 18 Forefront at Crossroads). She still attends every practice, she plays every match with intensity regardless of the score, she still tries to encourage her teammates (all very nice young women btw, even if they don’t live and die for the sport), and the talk in the house is still repeatedly about volleyball. Part of that is that our older daughter is a college assistant, so we’ve learned some things about the sport that most volleyball parents don’t. We consider our daughter very special because of her dedication. Still, it’s important to point out that there are hundreds of young ladies across the country just like her who don’t necessarily get much acclaim and who are special too.


My daughter’s shoulders droop after the handshakes. She’s frustrated. Her coach motions for the team to meet with him in the corner of the gym to discuss this match and prepare for the next against City Beach 17-1, the second seed in the pool. I look back and up at the steel spiral staircase that hangs over the bleachers. At the top two dads videotape either for memory’s sake or for the much hallowed and often dreaded “recruiting video”.

A few years ago, one college coach told me that the most effective recruiting video he’d ever seen was thirty seconds long and included no volleyball footage. The young woman introduced herself said what club she played for, her height, and position, then jumped up a grabbed the basketball rim. This is not a viable option for most hopefuls, but it was clear that the player/parent had grasped a lot more than the rim when making that tape. Whatever happens in these matches matters a whole lot less in recruiting terms than most of us think even with the college coaches watching.

The first few times we tried to videotape our kid’s matches disaster always struck. If the camera worked then the team would have its worst match of the season. If the match was interesting at all and she made some plays, something would go wrong with the electronics. The gym lighting would be off, the camera would be at a bad angle, or the battery would run out at just the wrong moment. I’m thankful for the Arctic Ferrets and Bear Clauses, mysterious characters who take photos at tournaments then post them on the net. Bear Clause is unusual in that he remains one of the few people who follows the sport who wasn’t a player or coach and doesn’t have a kid in the matches.

This year, we decided not to use the video camera. One of the problems with video is that it tends to tell the truth. Booming swings look a lot more ordinary. On blocks, you see the fact that the hitter was hitting down and the blocker wasn’t all that high. Endless rallies with save after save turn out to be far shorter than you remembered or experienced and involve several free balls. In the meantime, parent memory can be the ultimate video-editing software.

Actually, it was better when I did stand alone with the camera, back against the far wall of the gym or perched on top of the bleachers. I have a tendency to comment on matches as they unfold. I don’t say mean things about the players, but I do react when I see mistakes. I’ll slap my knee, make faces, exhale loudly, occasionally use minor league vulgarities that don’t quite cross into swearing or simply shake my head. I’d thought of myself as relatively silent until I played a couple of those videotapes with the audio on. It’s often better if I don’t sit with the other parents.

My wife’s notion is that you should watch junior volleyball as if you were some cross between the Buddha and Mr. Rogers. Nothing upsets you, you smile a lot, and you only chant supportive things. When we go see other people’s kids play or even matches to which we have no direct ties like this year’s women’s final four, I can actually be like that. Put my own child somewhere on the court or god forbid standing next to the court and watching and I’m not capable of that state of grace. In fact, there’s no grace or graciousness to it at all. I become the Tasmanian Devil from the old cartoons. It’s decidedly unhealthy, yet it’s all worth it for those stretches when balls hit the top of the net and fall to the other side, when the hitters find the spaces on the court, and all balls on defense seem to reflexively pop up and towards teammates who then actually free ball without dropping it ten feet out of bounds. If anyone out there remembers pinball and ever actually had a run where the bumpers and flippers were all one and the machine never tilted, it’s the same high. the Gods of gravity are with you. It’s as good a second-hand high as you can have.

That is, of course, the weirdest part of it all. It’s second hand. You’re not the one o the court nor are you the one attending practices and workouts. It’s not your hand trying to either set or hit the ball. Your only tie to what goes on there is genetic and financial. So, what the heck makes it so exhausting sometimes to watch a day’s worth of volleyball. Yeah, I know you wake up at five thirty in the morning, drive a hundred miles each way, and spend much of the day fetching food and water, acting appropriately supportive, etc., But there’s something more to it. At the end of some tournaments, my wife (with her totally different way of being at the events) and I are often more exhausted than our daughter.

When our older daughter went to play in college in the ACC, we still got very excited about the matches. It’s just that it was never as exhausting, because college parents have to be more detached. She was living on her own. She had a coach whom we didn’t pay. With one rare exception, we didn’t drive home together, find some restaurant to stop at, and offload the satisfactions and frustrations of the day. One time at the end of a road trip, the coach let us drive our daughter back to campus. It was her freshman year and it didn’t occur to us at the time that we’d never get to do those little rituals again with her.

One of the odd things about this generation is how much we’ve institutionalized play. When I was a kid (back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and gas was less than fifty cents a gallon) , little league was perhaps the only organized team sports experience you’d have prior to high school. If you wanted to do sports, you did them on your own with friends, neighbors, sometimes in pick up games. With rare exceptions, the adults never watched. Sometimes a Dad maybe once in a while a Mom would come out and join you for a bit and you’d marvel at the fact that they could actually hit, catch, or run, but it was a world owned and occupied by the kids themselves. They made the laws, suffered the consequences, and taught themselves or frequently each other how to master that corner of their universe. If your kid had a stellar day, he’d have to let his parents know that it even happened. If it was a rough day, parents might not even know unless it was so bad and you were so frustrated you’d have talk to them about it.

The junior volleyball lifestyle is more or less the exact reverse. Kids mostly play only when coached in organized practices or matches. Where kids once used to hang out watching their parents do things, parents now plan and build entire weekends around watching the kid engage in some athletic endeavor. It’s sort of like the movie Gypsy transposed to the suburbs and played out in gyms and convention centers instead of in vaudeville halls. The worst of it is that what used to be or fun has turned into some sort of scholarship factory. Seriously, fourteen year olds shouldn’t be visiting colleges much less taking offers to play at them. While that’s may be ten kids a year at best, the rest get caught up in the somebody or nobody wants me thing within two years (way worse than prom). These days, if you don’t have an offer by the end of the fall of your senior year, you’re the volleyball version of an old maid. While many blame the NCAA for this state of affairs, I suspect that we parents have played a role as well.

One proof of that is that a visit to prepvolleyball.com’s message board, the center of the junior volleyball bee hive, reveals that the kids themselves hardly ever post. Almost all of those messages about playing time, getting the attention of colleges, and guarantees of great things at qualifiers and JO’s are coming either from parents or coaches. The players themselves tend to be far more positive and relaxed about the whole thing. Even John’s marketing plan reflects that. The heart of the board consists of endless lists. Where volleyball magazine’s Fab 50 used to be pretty much the only list in our world, John has lists of just about everything volleyball. Someday soon, we’ll see a list of the top fifty outside hitters named “Gretchen”. The concept is simple. Parents who spend thousands of dollars/year on the sport will happily come up with twenty five bucks to see their own child’s name on a list. It’s done with integrity though. I’ve even written stories for John and my kid’s never made a prepvolleyball list (She has been mentioned in passing in a couple articles). Amidst all this talk about the virtual reality possibilities of the Nintendo Wii and its progeny, volleyball parents have been having the experience of playing the sport without actually being on the court for years.

Between matches, my daughter finds herself keeping the scorebook. I have no idea how many times she’s helped ref at this point. She confessed to me this year that she’s pretty much managed to avoid down reffing throughout her career. The scorer’s table is probably the best duty. You get to sit down and you get to sit next to a teammate. The only downside is that the parents yell at you repeatedly whenever you’re too slow in changing the score or God forbid that you ever actually screw up the score. If you do lines, you have to fight falling asleep. Down reffing, they give you a whistle and you have the ultimate weapon for match destruction. Some kids like it and many of them do a great job at it. Most avoid it. Then there are the ones who occasionally seem to glory in making all manner of technical calls that even the refs in the chairs would hesitate about. The worst instance I remember was in a low level under fourteens match, a seventh grader decided to call every set a double regardless. Her coach wasn’t anywhere to be seen and it was one of those reminders of what was lost when NCVA decided to provide real referees only for major tournaments. Meanwhile, everyone pretends that the problem doesn’t really exist and it does sometimes happen in matches that matter. I’m not suggesting that it’s a Tim Donaghy type thing, but there’s a real value to neutral adult referees for both teaching the sport and minimizing the temptation (usually unconscious) to affect matches.




In general, reffing time is the stretch during the tournament day when we’re not utterly aware of our children. For years, I’ve used it as my time to either socialize with the other parents (the grumpier I get the less I do that) or for exploring for food. Naturally, Berkeley may be the ultimate site for that particular activity. There might be twenty places within walking distance of Haas gym, maybe more, and it’s a great assortment. You have Top Dog, an only in Berkeley libertarian hot dog stand, the usual assortment of Mexican and pizza by the slice, then the Pepto Bismol triangle (a growing concentration of Asian restaurants representing a variety of countries anchored by the venerable King Pin Doughnut shop).

Some of my best times at volleyball tournaments have come from foraging. One time I found great Thai food in Clovis. Another time it was pho near the disaster once known as the NCVA Sacramento facility (playing three matches in fourteen hours on a hundred degree day had to be good for something) My trick is that I find all this exotic food then I quickly locate some deli and bring my daughter a turkey sandwich or something recognizable. Last year at JO’s my wife discovered the joys of walleye, a kind of freshwater fish not a description of my face after watching a frustrating match. They say food always tastes better outdoors, but there’s also something very satisfying about escaping a gym and turning up exotic food near a place lined with sport court.

A couple weeks ago, one of my old friends asked me “So are all your friends these days from volleyball.”

I didn’t want to admit it, but that’s not far from the truth. It’s not quite like serving in the army together, but it’s an unusual bond. You see each other’s children grow up, work through challenges, and you spend all this time muttering about coaches and referees together. Some of the time, you play travel agent, some version of a gymnasium bound Martha Stewart, diplomat on special assignment to the afternoon pool on court 7, and you have endless conversations about kids and their plans or in some cases unwillingness to plan. Sometimes your kids wind up on different teams or in our case different clubs and you wind up measuring your level of comfort after the fact.

We never expected our daughter to play for three clubs in three years. Her playing in North Carolina instead of Northern California for a season isn’t part of the usual volleyball menu, but it worked out well. She made new friends, tested her committment to her goals, and got to play a national schedule with Triangle. We’d never have attended JOs otherwise after 13 years as club parents. Senior year, our daughter wanted to play for a club where she had a strong personal connection to the coaches. She went to Absolute, a newish Marin-based club, which in its third year had two teams qualify for JO’s for the first time.

It felt good to hang out in the food room at Bayview (they cover the floor of one room in plastic and let the kids eat indoors at actual tables). As it happened, we wound up in the same pool that morning with our daughter’s original club. This was the first time, we’d gotten to visit with some of the parents whose daughters used to be her clubmates at Empire. As we talked about the tournament, where our daughters were headed in the fall, and the approach of graduation, it didn’t occur to us that we weren’t going to do this again at least quite this way.

City Beach 17 is coached by two guys I became e-mail friends with over time. It turns out that Chris Crader and Dave Winn also went to the same junior university though they’re much younger than I am. For several years, City Beach was the dominant club in Northern California. That changed a few years back. In the meantime, Chris and Dave’s teams have always been extremely well coached. Soft blocks get picked up, backrow players are always in position, the defenses balance to cover all parts of the court on out of system plays, and players keep their poise. This team, their first year in 17-18’s features outstanding libero/ds pair in Candace Silva Martin and Courtney Vaccarello and a pair of consistent lefts with Ally Whitson and Abby Whelan. My daughter’s team had struggled in an earlier meeting this year simply because City Beach was too fundamentally sound.

For whatever reason, City Beach chose the first game of this match to completely implode. Serves went out, balls fell to the floor, and my daughter’s team went out to a rather surprising lead. In the meantime, her own team’s backrow rather mysteriously solidified and my daughter was doing most everything setters are supposed to do. On three occasions she passed balls on two into the far corner for kills, blocked a couple balls, and turned any number of impossible to play balls into sets. It was one of those matches where we wished that we’d had the video camera. Much to their surprise, my daughter’s team took the first game.

In the second game, City Beach steadied out and built a five point lead midway through the game. For most of the year, this had been the point where my daughter’s team would then take itself out of the match. Rachel Wilson then made several digs at the libero position. After being one of the better prospects in the Empire club at age 15, a serious shoulder injury had forced her to sit out a club season and Rachel the hitter never re-appeared or to be more accurate never developed quite the way she might have. This was a reminder of what might have been. Juliet Witous (University of Puget Sound) who at 5’8” was considered too small despite her athleticism kept hitting over the City Beach block and suddenly the score was 18-18. A rather odd under the net call followed and City Beach went on to score three points in a row, one a textbook 4 from Whitson.

I suppose if this were a movie, my daughter’s team would have gone on to win the game and the match, but most matches come down to basics like making serves, closing the block, keeping free balls in play, etc. and if you don’t do these things it catches up with you more or less the way gravity prevails. City Beach reverted to its normal solid fundamental play and my guess is that they’ll do fine in 17 Nationals in Dallas.

After the match, Chris Crader was gracious enough to tell me that he thought my daughter had played well. It was the sort of gesture for which I’d come to appreciate so many of the friends we’ve made over the years in the region.

Potentially, the match with Empire also would have been those opportunities for “saving the tournament”, but it simply wasn’t to be and the match wasn’t even remotely close. The next day was even worse. Early in the day, my daughter dove to the floor for a ball and a teammate landed on her head. She didn’t move for several seconds, but fortunately got up and insisted on continuing to play. Simply put, it was a dismal end to a tournament to finish a frustrating year. It happens.

On the same weekend, our older daughter called to tell us that her women’s adult team had beaten the National A2 team in five games in pool play (technically, it was half the A2 team) at the US Women’s National Open in Atlanta. Ironically, that A2 team included Kimmie Rolleder who starred for the Point Break team in last years 18 Nationals at JO’s, the team that eliminated our younger daughter’s team. Rolleder had probably been the second best player at last year’s tournament after Kelly Murphy of SPVB, who had one of the great JO finals in a 5 game match with Long Beach Mizuno. More interesting, the A2’s were coached by a guy who had decided not to recruit our daughter way back when . The next day, her team managed to beat a team of University of Hawaii alumna, many of whom came from the team who beat her team in her last college match in Lincoln in the round of 16 so many years ago. Among the Hawaii players was our older daughter’s equivalent of Tarah Murrey, former Hawaii setter Jennifer Carey. According to my daughter, the player who stood out on the two A2 teams was Callie Rivers (Florida- her father coaches some basketball team in New England), whose last year with OVA ended in frustration at Far Westerns. In other words, it’s never over.

A couple months ago, we had flown to North Carolina to visit our daughter’s college for the first time. On the trip, we decided to see the team our older daughter coached at the time play in a spring tournament at Wake Forest. It turned out to be a fascinating mix of the full range of east coast volleyball. Wake Forest is a solid ACC team. Winthrop is a long time power in the Big South. Winston Salem State is perhaps the weakest division 1 program in America. ECU is a solid team from conference USA. In addition, Wingate a D2 team coached by former Georgia Tech coach, Shelton Collier, and Gardner Webb were also there. We were looking for the ECU team and our older daughter when much to our shock we saw her on the court setting her adult team in the tournament (an emergency came up and they needed her to play). Even more surprising, her group of former college players most of whom hadn’t played in several years was more than competitive, one of these reminders that it’s a shame that there are so few opportunities for volleyball players after they use their NCAA eligibility. Molly Pyles’s father, Jerry, had made the trip from Asheville to watch his own daughter play. I went over to him in the bleachers and in some ways it was like no time at all had passed. We were just another couple volleyball parents still watching our daughters play.

Throughout my daughter’s own college career, her team’s single biggest individual nemesis had been a Wake Forest Player, Trina Masa De Moya ( a player so athletic that after playing volleyball throughout college went out and played professional soccer after a four year layoff). She had now joined Get Low and they were playing against Wake Forest together in the Wake Forest gym. Masa de Moya remains the only player I’ve ever seen dive into the right corner for a dig and get a kill from the left on the same play. Bottom line, it’s possible to keep playing the sport and these women were clearly enjoying themselves.

Despite the way my daughter’s last Bayview Classic went in our last adventure as full-on junior volleyball parents, we’ll miss this. Both our daughters found a sport they seem to love deeply and that sport provided them with an opportunity to grow as competitors and young women. We often wondered about the younger one taking on a sport for which she did not have the ideal body and in which her older sister had been relatively successful. Instead of creating stress between the two, it actually bonded them. They still talk about someday coaching together. Instead of discouraging our younger daughter, her lack of height made her even more determined to prove that she deserved to be on the court (she’s one of the smaller non-liberos in the country with a D1 scholarship). We’ve met wonderful people along the way from all three clubs our kids played for (coaches, parents,players, and surprisingly people I met through the internet) and from teams they played against. There are just so many memories for us.

A few years ago, I wrote that club volleyball is the product of a few happy circumstances that include large numbers of middle class and wealthier parents, people thinking of girls’ athletics being important, and affordable gasoline. We’ve been very lucky to have been parents in a time where the opportunity has been available to our girls. As we finish our own run, things may be changing within the sport (the JVDA challenge to USAV may be the least of those looming changes), I just hope that when we become volleyball grandparents at some time in the distant future that some of these opportunities will still exist or that they will have expanded.

The traditional thing is to say that we’ll still go to an occasional junior tournament, but I actually find that’s not the case for most of us. We’re looking forward to being the parents of a college student and I imagine I’ll look at the prepvolleyball message board, but I know that looking at all those lists now for recruits in the class of 2010 is just a completely different thing. I just hope the parents after us will always fight to make it a positive, wholesome, healthy experience for all their sons and daughters at every level of the sport.

We had two daughters play this sport. After all those hundreds of matches, neither one ever qualified in open, made a fab 50 list, or even got close to a USA developmental camp. Neither one won a state championship. In the end, none of that mattered. Both of them made it across adolescence and into healthy young womanhood at least partly because of the experiences they had playing junior volleyball. Both came away with a feeling of accomplishment, a willingness to work as part of a team and to improve themselves as individuals, and a sense that a woman can work on herself physically for reasons other than to get males to pay attention to you. We’ll miss getting home on Sunday night with an exhausted child asleep in the back seat. We’ll miss showing up at work on Monday and not being able to explain to co-workers that we spent an entire weekend watching our daughter run around a gym and that we actually loved it. I’ll miss the ritual of holding my breath than exhaling every time my daughter serves then feeling exhausted at the end of the day as if I’d been on the court myself. Whenever I try to look back at all of those years a a junior parent, it wasn't always smooth, but we'll remember it as one big "ooh". We've been terribly fortunate.

Link to my other volleyball articles



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22 Comments:

At 6/15/2008 05:29:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

A sweet evocation of parental love.

 
At 6/15/2008 01:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen! and Thank You - you wrote for many parents with daughters in many sports. Your love encompasses us all.

 
At 6/15/2008 10:21:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Gt,
thanks for the kind comment.

Anonymous,
thanks. We already miss it.

 
At 6/16/2008 01:18:00 AM, Anonymous pogblog said...

A cool encomium. Enjoyed it a lot. I shot a lot of prepvolleyball at St. Francis in Mtn. View for community tv -- always a very well-coached team. The athleticism is remarkable and the decency of the kids as impressive. You sound better behaved than many parents, actually.

I'm glad you had so much fun.

 
At 6/16/2008 08:39:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Aww, that's nice.

I love volleyball. It's one of the few (non-bar) sports that I was ever able to play halfway decent.

 
At 6/16/2008 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Mr. Pb,
actually the fate of the St. Francis volleyball team is a long story. The teams were great, but there were some issues that wound up in the San Jose Mercury.
It was definitely fun and it feels strange knowing that next January will be very different.

Beckeye,
you can probably play volleyball in a bar, if the ceiling's raised a little bit.

 
At 6/17/2008 12:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Boris. Thanks for summing the experience up so well. SM

 
At 6/17/2008 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

SM,
thanks. I guess we join you among the ranks of the former junior volleyball parents.

 
At 6/19/2008 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Elizabeth McQuern said...

How sweet! What a lucky kid your daughter is to have such a caring pop.

 
At 6/23/2008 04:27:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Bella,
it's more the other way around, we've been fortunate to have a kid who is willing to set goals and work for them.

 
At 6/30/2008 06:20:00 PM, Anonymous BearClause said...

Congratulations on making it this far. It's been a pleasure meeting you at several matches and club tournaments. I'm still into college volleyball, but marriage seems to have cut into a lot of my time. Still - I went and saw the Harker-St Mary's D-IV playoff match with my then fiancee.

Maybe one of these days I'll be in the position of watching my kids in HS or club volleyball.

 
At 7/01/2008 10:10:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

BearClause,
good to hear from you. Sounds like married life is agreeing with you. I hope you do get the pleasure of being a volleyball parent yourself one of these days soon.

 
At 9/08/2008 12:23:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Very well written, Boris. Its a great gift that your family has had to enjoy the junior volleyball experience together. Its a great game for so many reasons.

Best of luck as you graduate into the next phase of your family's life.

 
At 10/22/2008 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks Jim,
hope your daughters are doing well with the sport and with school. My daughter very much enjoyed playing with yours and still asks about her whenever I update her on all her former teammates.

 
At 12/10/2010 03:47:00 AM, Blogger Carl said...

Quite amazing fact about the daughter who backs up to prepare her approach for her jump float,although the post is just brilliant.

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