Yesterday kicked off the volleyball season with our annual invitational. Three other teams from the area joined us for a tournament. Our varisty team ended up winning the trophy, as well they should have because I watched a few of their games and WOW. Those girls are good. And fast.
Junior varsity didn't do so well as far as winning games went, but their level of play was completely different from last year. This is Meelyn's second season and Aisling's first; we also have two other twelve-year-olds, one of whom is so good that I was awestruck by her instinctive knack for the game. As I watched JV matches yesterday, it was a real thrill to see flashes of brilliance as the ball was volleyed and volleyed back and forth across the net. Of course, there were a few times when the ball would be served by the opposing team, only to land with a dismal thud right in the middle of the court, a feat which makes my husband, who is the assistant coach, drop his head into his hands, his ears turning bright red.
The JV coach doesn't fare much better in this regard, but he has learned the knack of chewing the girls out for being lazy and distracted without making them all cry. Which is quite a valuable skill. Because as it turns out, it's hard to bump, set and spike when your eyes are welling with tears.
I spent a lot of my day working in the concession stand, which is one of my favorite things to do. For some reason, it just suits me. And not because I get to eat. Shut up. You can't stand there and eat if you're working the concession stand. We sold lots of different candy, plus chips and granola bars and packaged cookies and crackers, cups of watermelon chunks, homemade cinnamon buns, pulled pork sandwiches, baked potatoes, walking tacos, hotdogs and nachos, plus a multitude of soft drinks. I enjoy serving people when they come up to the window, plus I had the vantage point of being able to sit on a high stool with my feet on a cooler and see straight down one of the courts. I also had the advantage of a nice fan casting its cool breeze over me as I sat during slow periods in the un-air-conditioned gym.
Yes, you read that correctly. The gym was not air-conditioned. Yesterday wasn't as bad as last year, I will say that. We actually had a lot of rain yesterday and that helped keep it cooler in there, although it didn't do one blessed thing for the humidity. It gave us a lot to offer up, let's put it that way.
In spite of the sticky heat, it was still as really fun day. Meelyn's serve is deadly, causing all sorts of mayhem and leaping about for the other team. Aisling's serve has shaped up so well that she scored four straight points in one game. Volleyball is enormously fun to watch and I sat with the other parents (very nice people, all of them) and cheered until I was a little bit hoarse.
We all missed one spectator, the grandpa of a girl who isn't playing this year. He won the Our Favorite Fan award at the banquet in November 2006 and got a little teary-eyed when he laughingly came forward to accept it.
He had a very loud and gravelly voice and trumpeted forth with some trenchant witticisms and sporting lore that always made me laugh.
His advice for a good serve? "Get a little aiiiiiiiir under it!"
For the team, preparing for an opposing server's onslaught? "You watch this one. Sheeeeeeeeeeeee's tricky!"
What about a dive onto the court, resulting in bumps, bruises and floor burns? "Rub some diiiiirt on it!"
I miss him this year. So the other parents and I entertained ourselves by calling out encouragement in his style. It was a hoot, the kind of hoot you can only have when you've drained six bottles of water and four Diet Cokes and your shirt is sticking to your back and your bangs are sticking to your forehead.
A short time before the four McKinneys left to go home and take showers (we'd been there for about eight hours at that point), some of the other mothers and I looked at each other and agreed, "We look AWFUL." Our daughters were all glowing with perspiration and looking sensationally young and vibrant, but we, the older generation, just looked damp and draggled.
My family agreed: Never have showers felt so good as they did yesterday evening. I was in my pajamas by 6:30, my clean hair smelling of shampoo and tidily fastened up in a barrette, sitting on the sofa in front of the fan, ready to spend a pleasant evening watching television and reading with my husband while the girls went upstairs to watch Princess Diaries 2, a movie of which they never tire.
I love volleyball season.
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