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18 Jun 2015

Volleyball Nationals Blog: Day One of Competition

Volleyball Nationals Blog: Day One of Competition

Written by Leslie Murrell
Photo by Bob Safar

Day one started off a little bit slow for our team – River City Juniors 131’s. I got everyone up and fed and I did everything perfectly. I yelled positive bursts, I wore my inspirational shirt, I channeled my energy. I did all my mom things. All of our team parents did all their parent things too. But I guess the parents on the other teams love their children more, because they won.

Just kidding…about the love thing. Our girls’ team lost their first two games this morning. Today, they went 1-2.

It’s not just my daughter I love watching play. I’m so proud of each of the girls on her team. So, to watch them struggle is hard. It’s a tough lesson for them. Watching them overcome their setback today and end on a win was rewarding, though. I would have rather watched them win all three, but I’m still proud of them. Any day you wake up and watch your kid play at nationals is a good day.

The girls had a big break between games – they reffed and then had a game off. So, Chris and I took a walk around the ESPN Wide World of Sports. As sports fans we were in awe with the meticulous grounds. Chris was a track athlete in college, so we walked around the track trying to critique it, but we just couldn’t find anything wrong with it! The field, the throws area, the jump pit, the track are all in pristine convention. If you have a break to walk around the facility, hydrate first, then do it! Then hydrate again!

The summer heat got the best of us, so we headed back to the HP Field House. For this tournament, it has six volleyball courts on a wood floor. The courts are spaced out enough that there was minimal interruptions with the balls rolling in from other games. The seating is on the second level, so it’s kind and reciprocated if you have a game on the end, to watch your daughter’s game on the front row, and then switch out with other team parents for the next game. You’ll see what I mean, but there’s your heads up.

Last night I discovered that my former teammate is here with her daughter from California. I played Division II volleyball a very long time ago – before liberos, rally score for all games, and sliced bread was invented. My coach is also here to recruit for her college, so I’m looking forward to meeting up with them! Volleyball alums, no matter how old we are, we stick together.

I’m a big proponent for Division II schools. I knew deep down that I wanted to go to a smaller school. If this is your first experience in potential collegiate level athlete, help your child figure out what she wants and needs, and not just push her into a big show if that’s not her fit. My coach knows my kids, came to our wedding, and has given me more insight and advice than I ever could have imagined. If the President of WTAMU (from when I was there, which is Dr. Russell Long) ran into me tomorrow, after 20 years, he’d know my name, and hug me. There’s something special in smaller schools. They’re like a well kept secret, or an elite club. (But maybe I’m just saying that because I’ve never been trusted with a well kept secret, or in an elite club.)

It’s not always the prestige, but the best fit for your child’s career aspirations, personality, as well as athletic ability. Think of it this way, aside from a full scholarship to a big school, what can that school offer your daughter? And outside of volleyball, what will that school offer your daughter? I’m not trying to deter kids from going to a big school. It’s just something to consider when a college coach approaches you or your coach about your child. Which might happen this week. After all, we are in the land where dreams come true!

Good luck to all the teams (and all the parents!) Keep going, you got this!

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