It wasn’t until 6th grade that I discovered volleyball. My team bonded quickly, easily becoming close friends over the next couple of years as we learned the basics of the sport and perfected our skill in eager preparation for our first year of high school.
Freshman year finally arrived, meaning we could finally compete for actual trophies and glory. We got to meet our new coach that would move up with us each fall season: Pule Misa, big, happy, gorilla-like, always singing Samoan, who became a second father for all of my teammates and me. Despite the fact that he didn’t speak one lick of English, he was able to teach us everything necessary for snagging our 1st place in region that year. (Varsity took 2nd at state that year.) Then, 10th grade came and we annihilated all sophomore teams in our region with ease. (Varsity took 3rd.) Next was our JV year, and we finally got to taste what going to the state championships was like. Rousing. It made the anticipation for our predictably undefeated season senior year even greater than before. Once again my team claimed the 1st place trophy. (Varsity earning a close 2nd.) My senior volleyball team was the most anticipated team in the state, the state trophy practically in our glass showcase already. The state title was all any of us wanted, and my team was determined to have it. We kicked off the summer prior to our senior year living on the court. We would play at least four hours everyday, along with meeting for the occasional early morning runs and lifting in the weight room. Primed and ready, nothing was going to impede us from bringing the state trophy home to Dixie.