Yes, volleyball season has started again and it has consumed the Williams’ household. My two oldest kids, Marie & Patrick, are on their school’s volleyball teams. But that’s not all, I have signed up to coach the 5th grade team. Which means my two youngest are being drug, sometimes willingly, along for the ride. Oh, but that’s not all, Dad has gotten into the spirit and has agreed to not only be the assistant coach for my son’s team, he has thrown his hat into the ring to be the assistant coach for the 8th grade team too. I guess he got tired of standing along the line at the games. (That’s a little inside joke, because last year he was a line judge at the kid’s games.)
This is not my first year of helping with volleyball, but in the past I was the assistant. Which was perfect for me, because I really am not a competitive person. In fact, I have no real sports ability what so ever, which is why I was always the student manager when I was in high school. However, as my favorite saying goes, “God works in mysterious ways” and I found myself in the position as head coach of the 5th grade volleyball team this year. Okay, not a problem. I can do this! I have many returning players from last year. I just needed to be the adult that was responsible during the practices. Or so I thought.
We started out with 7 kids signed up to play and out of that 7, only one was a brand new player. We did our best to get practices going, but inevitably a couple were always absent from one practice or another. That’s fine, I worked with the ones that could make it. Then it happened, three days away from our first official game, I find out that two of my players can’t make it that night. That’s when I go into the recruiter mode. I have a team with 5 players and one of them is brand spankin’ new to the game. Technically, we could play with 5 players, but we would have to give up a point every time the absent player was up to serve. That’s okay, the kids would still be able to play. But what if one of my players became sick the night of the game? We couldn’t play with four players. We’d have to forfeit.
Instantly, my personal goal was to make sure that this team would be able to play their first game, not as a coach, but as a mother. My son and his teammates really wanted to play and I wanted to make sure that was going to happen. So as soon as I heard about my absent players, I started sending text to parents that had qualifying students. I couldn’t get just anybody to fill in at the game, they had to be in the right age limit and have a physical on file. Otherwise, I would have been sticking my 8th grade daughter on the team, even if she had to play on her knees to make it fair. Heck, my two little ones had been at every practice and could bump as well as some of my players, so I would have gladly suited them up and had them play if I could.
However, I had to abide by the rules and make sure my players were legal players. We are playing in a Catholic league after all. So like I said, I started texting parents and asking students if they wanted to step in for at least this one game. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine what would happen next.