Monday, September 18, 2017

The Blog About Nothing Returns

It's been said people with real lives are too busy to blog.  I don't completely agree with that thinking, but it's certainly been proven true in the last eight days of this busy life.  From last Monday to today's Monday I've....

.....been to seven volleyball games in five different towns.

.....worked in The Grandstand one final time for the season.  In a sixth different town.

.....driven north to do some deer farming for a day.  In a seventh town.

.....survived the first full week of the school year, showing up on time almost most of the days.

In the next three days I will be at four more games and, apparently, have to work every one of those days as well.  To avoid letting my strong run of posts wither any further I come to you now with one of my desperate blogs about nothing.  Don't say I didn't warn you....

**I shake my head almost daily at the turn my life has taken in the last year with regard to volleyball.  One year ago tomorrow I wrote this post detailing my journey to becoming a volleyball junkie.  Now, a year later, I can enthusiastically admit I pretty much live and breathe the sport.  I coach our seventh grade team, Daughter One is on our varsity, and Daughter Two plays on our Junior Varsity.  On the rare nights none of us have games I'm watching the Gophers volleyball team play.  I follow a half-dozen volleyball sources on Twitter.  I know the top ten collegiate volleyball teams in the country but have no clue who the top ten college football teams are right now.  Again, I shake my head.

**Minnesota's climate - what can a feller say?  Two weeks ago my house was freezing but I refused to start the furnace in the same week school started.  Last week was so sweltering I begrudgingly turned the AC back on....but only because the bananas on my kitchen counter were melting.  Saturday morning I left the house in shorts and t-shirt and felt quite comfy; Sunday morning I nearly froze riding a four-wheeler across the field while wearing three top layers and wishing I'd have packed my long undies.  I really am thankful to live where seasons are drastically different....but having spring, summer, and fall in less than two weeks is a bit much.

**I desperately want to get cautiously enthused for a certain pro sports team from my state that plays a sport with bats, balls, and gloves and is creeping towards a playoff spot....but I'm scared my powers of jinxation will cause a typhoid outbreak on the team.  So I stay nonchalant and avoid talking about them.  Even with this short paragraph I'm terrified I've said too much.  I'm sorry everyone.

**In a moment of weakness I let some excitement creep into my being yesterday.  I checked my trail cameras first thing in the morning and found this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And.....well, this:

The chances of seeing those bucks while hunting are slim; the chances of seeing them and getting a shot are even skinnier.  Trail cameras are a double-edged sword - it's exciting to know what we could see while hunting, but frustrating to hunt and not see what we know is there...somewhere.  So I looked at my pictures, allowed myself 45 seconds of excitement, and then forced myself back into cautiously enthused stoicism.

That's all the nothing I have for tonight.  The alarm clock will ring too soon.  Tomorrow will be another busy day.  My writing has deteriorated into simple sentences.  The end is now.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Genesis Synthesis

What a difference a week makes.

After displaying ineptitude at levels rarely seen on a volleyball court in game one, Daughter 1 and her varsity squad did the nearly unthinkable tonight in their second game - they beat the despised wealthy school to the southwest on their own floor.  Heading into the game we hoped for improvement, hoped to compete, but win?  Even the most optimistic Mustanger had few thoughts of heading home with a victory after last week's debacle.

Set one was brutal early.....again.....but our girls showed a few signs of life before the 25th point was scored by the opposition.  Set two found our crew in unfamiliar territory near the 20th point - leading!  The lead and the set slipped away, however, and when the scoreboard read 23-24 in the third set it appeared an 0-2 start to the season was inevitable.  But before the Fat Lady could belt out her first notes.....

.....a group of young women surrendered their individual identities and allowed a greater, more powerful force to emerge - the team.  The early stages of this young volleyball season have been marred with squabbles over everything from picture poses to team captain choices to warm-up songs.  Facing a second consecutive three-set loss this group of individuals looked defeat square in the eye and as a team told it to step aside.  For the first time in two seasons there was a unified desire to help each other succeed - high fives and pats on the back became crisper and quicker, a few "my fault"s replaced the accusatory looks that followed mistakes, and a genuine excitement for a teammate's quality play was shown by every player wearing a blue jersey.

The concept of "team" has great value to me; watching the birth of a team sent chills down my spine.  Well, most of my spine...the bottom third was numb from sitting on bleachers for several hours.  We see teams all over TV and highlights of victories are never hard to find.  We celebrate our athletes far too often and far too loudly and have championships for every kind of team imaginable.  But it's in high school athletics where we most often get to witness the metamorphosis from individuals to team.  It can't be shown in a highlight or on a poster and many times it happens behind the doors of the practice facility.  Tonight it happened in the last three points of a third set right before my eyes.

The beauty of high school sports shone brightly tonight in that foreign gymnasium with the goofy dog and horrendous warm-up music.  A team walked off the court where hours earlier a group of individuals had first set foot.  That team carried with it a hard fought and well earned five-set victory, and a feeling of accomplishment that, I hope, none of them will ever forget.  I'm so happy for Daughter 1 and every one of her teammates, happy that they seized an opportunity to grow together into something that will be special to them for the rest of their lives.  I'm proud of the resiliency they showed by bouncing back from that awful game last week and crawling out of the deficit they faced tonight.  And I'm thankful they got to experience the unbridled joy that comes from accomplishing something they had only ever dreamed about.  A most excellent showing, ladies!

Now get back to work.