When I was invited to play beach volleyball ‘because they needed a girl on the team’ I was a little apprehensive of appearing as the token female. With no prior experience of volleyball my teammates gave me a quick lesson on the rules of play. This was followed by a rather unsuccessful exercise on how to serve a ball. After a few reckless punts with my right hand, I settled on using my left (mostly for the safety of all players and spectators within a 30m radius it has to be said).
Finally the time had come to put my rudimentary skills to the test. I stepped up to serve but failed to get it over the net. Regardless, I made my teammates proud, lessening their embarrassment by keeping it in the court this time.
We were a player short and so a keen-bean waiting for his team to arrive joined us. He had far more experience and with it a high level of competitiveness; he had so much enthusiasm that he even stole one of the only shots of the game from me…his teammate! I know – shocker!
It all seemed to happen in slow motion: the ball was high over my head and falling into the perfect position for my debut. I lifted my arms. With just milliseconds from my fingertips touching the ball, alien arms sprouted from above my 5’2” frame to slam the ball away to victory. Gobsmacked and crushed, I gave a side-ways glare and continued with a heavy heart.
In the third and final game of the night, I actually contributed to my team’s efforts. However this glory moment was tainted a little as I was struck by a small and somewhat painful misfortune, or more accurately, a hurtling sphere, which has left my thumb sore and bruised. On the plus side, I got the ball back up in the air and popped it over the net and I’d love to say it was thanks to that shot we won the match, but it would be a lie – we did win; just not through any effort on my part.
Although I’ve a newfound respect for the skills required to participate in this sport, I’m pretty confident I will never again play volleyball, mostly because I’d rather like to keep the use of my opposable digits.