What the Game Means to Me- A blog by FY Erina Nanavati

A lot of us have been playing this sport for so long, that we have never really taken a step back and looked at how much of an impact it’s had on our lives.  This game has been a part of me since I was in seventh grade, and now I’m playing collegiately, so let me enlighten you on why I’ve stuck around this sport for 7 years 🙂

Number 1! If you play a sport in the same school or club program for long enough, you’re bound to make some pretty good friends, spending that much time together, it’s a little hard not to. This is one of the best things that I have gotten out of volleyball, and one of the reasons I love it so much. Since seventh grade, I have played on a combined 12 teams. That’s 12 teams worth of team dinners, blasting music in busses/hotels, walking around random cities together and everything in between. I have way more memories than I can count for every single one of those teams, probably because no matter who was on it or what our seasons were like, every team I have ever played on has become its own little family. Volleyball is a sport that requires trust, and I have found that the only way a team can really trust each other on the court, is if they can connect and trust each other off of it too. Volleyball has given me those relationships with so many people that have only affected my life positively.

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Number 2! If you know me, you would know that I am not always the most outspoken person. When I was younger, that shyness was WAY worse than it is now (if you can believe it), so when I started playing volleyball it was a little bit of a shock. Volleyball is a very talkative sport, it’s something we strive to get better at almost every day at practice now, because it’s just that important. Well, at the very beginning of my volleyball career, being loud and demanding while playing was not my strongest quality. As I moved up to JV and Varsity and had more and more leadership roles, I quickly learned that for my teams to be as successful as I wanted them to be, I needed to step up and be able to lead them confidently. It didn’t take me long into my freshmen season to have a much bigger presence on the court, which made my presence off the court change in the same way. The leadership that I had taken on in volleyball carried over into my day to day life, making me much more confident all around. If it hadn’t been for volleyball, I might still be the extremely reserved person I used to be. I really do think that this part of the game has played one of the biggest roles in my life because it has helped me become someone who is so much more secure and confident.

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Number 3! I have played volleyball for almost 10 months out of the year for a very long time, and I used to think that it sucked. I was in high school!! I wanted to be able to hang out with my friends on the weekends, go to football and basketball games, but I was rarely able to because almost every weekend for a big chunk of the year, I was in random cities playing in volleyball tournaments. I won’t lie, I loved going to tournaments and hanging out with my teams, but I always wondered what I would do if I had the free time most non-club volleyball playing teenagers had. Looking back on it now, if I did have that free time, my life would have been an absolute mess.  I would have never gotten any work done because there would have been no structure, no outside force besides my parents to push me, and no drive within my self to want to constantly be better in school and in volleyball.  Playing so much allowed me to get out of my comfort zone in so many ways to really learn how to strive to be the absolute best that I can be all of the time, instead of just for a couple months of the year.

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