One of my sweetest sixth graders was so nervous about the tryouts, that she packed her own healthy lunch, with some whole wheat pasta in a thermos, so she would have the carbo-loading necessary to prepare herself properly for tryouts. : ) Isn’t that the cutest?

I teach junior high, and I’m so excited that this season of girls’ volleyball, I get to be their coach! Today I had the tryouts and came up with the team. It was so hard. So hard. I had about 30 girls, and wanted a team of 10. I decided the best approach was to be hardcore and mean and mean. I threatened sprints, wallsits, lunges, pushups, situps, etc. I still had many come to try out.

I remember those tryouts from high school…running suicides up and down the court and silently cursing your coach, wondering why they could order you around, why they wouldn’t run them themselves. Willing your muscles to take you through one more wallsit. Hoping the serve would be easy, the hit right to your arms, praying that all the eyes that were on you weren’t watching to see you mess up.

Several of the girls on the list had dropped out before the tryout even began…I sent some hardcore emails home, gave a tough love speech, saw a few tears during tryouts due to the sprinting? me hitting the ball as hard as I could at them? yelling? pushups? I don’t know.

But the girls that came to tryouts ran hard, passed, set, hit, served, dug every ball. They listened WAY better than they do in class. And i think they did great. i even teared up when we circled up to pray before we said goodbye. I know we picked the right girls for the team because it was quick, effecient, based on a preset formula. But…I’m worried about the cut…I’m worried about the moms that will be upset. I’m so worried that these girls will think its a personal thing against them, and not just an athletic thing. I do have to teach them every day after this….oh I hope they won’t be upset. Afterall, as much as I can’t see that now, and maybe the girls can’t either, there is much more to life than a junior high sports season that lasts eight weeks long. : )

I found my team…11 girls, I’m so excited! I think we’ll actually be really good this year…really tough. I love that at my school, I get to pray over my girls, make them run, hug them, cheer with them, design our team ribbons for our hair : ). I love being called “Coach” and helping girls get better at playing an awesome sport, that holds the keys to so many of my best memories from high school.

Viva la volleyball! Here’s to a good week.