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The Privilege of Playing a Sport You Love

In the past four months I’ve played more volleyball than in the last 4 years. IVL men’s league, Grassman, 9man, and sprinkle in a little beach. It’s been great to reconnect with the game that has given me so much. I owe a lot to volleyball. Most of my friends are volleyball players and I even met my wife at a volleyball tournament. I’ve traveled the world because of volleyball.

It pains me to watch young athletes look at this beautiful game like it's a job. When volleyball players put all of their self worth into how good or bad they were at practice, in a match or a tournament, they are missing out on what their sport has to offer. Opportunities to build lasting relationships that will carry you through tough times. A reason to get stronger, faster, smarter. Experiences that can change or solidify what you value. I’ve always seen volleyball as a sport that allows me to be someone that I normally am not. I can be loud, energetic, and goofy but most importantly, it can help me grow.

This was the first season of the men’s open league I have played in four years. At 41, I’m much slower, can’t jump nearly as high, and it takes me forever to get up off the ground when I dive/fall. There is always something that doesn’t feel right (my neck, my back, my neck and my back). I was lucky to play on the best team this season (per the standings). But I was also lucky to play on THE BEST team! People that were supportive, energetic, and fun. People that made each other better. People that love the game as much as I do!

The expectations were high but I asked myself, What is left if we win? What is left if we lose? A lot! Challenges that will make a better player and coach. Teammates that I loved hanging out with before matches. Playing with and against former Stanford players that I coached. Lots of laughs and moments I’ll hang on to. Win or lose, there should always be more to it than a trophy or the empty feeling of defeat.

It is a privilege to play a sport you love. Sometimes we are in the thick of it and we need to zoom out and see all the glorious things that make up our sport. Thank you volleyball and thank you to the people that have given me the ride of my life!

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