Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Cutthroat Nature of Co-Ed Volleyball

I got yelled at Monday night.
A former coworker is who yelled at me.
Shortly after we lost our co-ed volleyball game.

She, the yeller, was upset at me missing a serve.
I had missed a serve.
Normally, I have one of the better serves on the team.
(Seriously, I'm not pumping my ego here)

The only problem is: my serve is high risk / high reward.
It's an overhand topspin serve.
Cuts right over the net and dips down sharply.
Toss it up too low, it's in the net (hit it too high it screams too far out of bounds)

I used to have quite a healthy amount of natural talent on the volleyball court.
The only high school sport I can lay credit to is volleyball.
Until I got cut because there were three setters better than me and I wasn't tall enough.
(For those that didn't know me when I was a minor, I wasn't always 6'3")

But I'm veering away from my focus here...
I didn't appreciate being yelled at Monday night.
Volleyball is still fun to me.
Any effort to attempt to impede on that emotion is not welcome.

There are two people specifically on my "work teams" (softball & volleyball) that are at that "yelling competitive" level. The other yeller usually reserves his outbursts to the softball diamond.
This coming from a man that once showed up to pitch a game under the influence of alcohol.
During these softball tantrums, I keep silent.
They aren't normally pointed at me, but that's slightly odd because I'm significantly worse at softball.
Flat out said: I'm not good at softball... Easily the worst "guy" of the co-ed squad.

That could be why I'm yelled at during volleyball - the yellers expect more out of me.
But I'm not there to win a spot on the 2012 London Squad.
I'm there to have fun, playing a sport that's always been that way to me.
I'm staying at work up to 90 minutes later to go to the game direct from work.

I said something back to her Monday night.
As much as I hate to admit it, I pulled it from an interaction in fifth grade.

I said, "Well, you played perfectly."
In the spring of 1990 I teased Jeff Bott on how he was playing "Wall Ball."
Jeff Bott sullenly said something to the effect that I had to be perfect to make such a criticism.
I remember it making me feel awful.
That effect didn't translate to 2008's Skokie Park District Co-Ed Rec League Volleyball.
I walked away from her venomous comeback, quickly regretting the line I drew in the sand.

What did we learn sports fans?
Never underestimate the importance of mental toughness in your life - at all times.
Truth be told, my lack of concentration caused my missed serve.
My lack of mental toughness allowed my former coworker's aggression to act in a way I wish I didn't... (no matter how justified)

She's lucky I want to be serious in the league.
I was about to dust off the 12 year old jump serve.
Something that doesn't get better with age - it would've been an awful sight for our team.

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