This past weekend I went back to a place that I grew up in, my high school gym. For two years I played basketball between those four walls and for all four I played volleyball. It's amazing the growth that happens between the ages of 14 to 18.
Since high school I've continued to play volleyball, a sport I first found as an eighth grader. We had sand courts in front of my college dorms, right after college I drove to Richmond to play with my oldest brother, I then found rec volleyball in Charlottesville, and I eventually found my sport in Roanoke. Each stop along the way I've met new people, some fantastic, some not so fantastic, I've learned tips on getting better, learned all the new rules, and even became a wife and mother. Something I was DEFINITELY not concerned with in high school!
Well every year my high school has an alumni vs. varsity game and every year I have to miss. I was thrilled I could finally go back! It just so happens it's the 40th anniversary of the AHS program. A couple of the players from the inaugural team were in attendance. Amazing to think how long our program has been going strong. If you want to see the impressive stats visit the team page - http://avb.t83.net/#.
What struck me the most this past Saturday was the quality of the players. And I do not mean just on the court. The girls were lovely. They were nice, welcomed me with open arms, complimented my family, cheered each other on...it's impressive the type of girl Coach Ragland gets to play for AHS. They easily could have dismissed me since they've never met me before, but they didn't. I am pretty sure I was not so gracious at the age of 17.
At one point I was talking to two of the girls and asked when they graduated. Well, they JUST graduated which makes them around 17 or 18 years old. The last time I played in the gym was the Fall of 1997...do the math. Basically, I am old. They didn't make me feel old though. Ok, so yes they did when they COULD NOT grasp the "old school" rules of points only being awarded on a serve and the ball not being allowed to hit the net on a serve. A lot has changed since my days there. Another thing that struck me was how TALL the girls on nowadays. Mommas are growing their babies much bigger than back in 1980! I will say though, my daughters told me I didn't look old out on the court, they told me I looked like the other players. Made me feel good (minus the back pain I was experiencing and the sheer exhaustion. HA!).
I really hope I get to play in future alumni/varsity matches. It felt good to still know what I was doing, sort of, and to see some friendly faces.
Thank you to my family for coming to watch and to Stacy and Marc for taking pictures!
I mean, you are kind of a big deal when your picture is hanging on the wall, right? #humblebrag
So the football team isn't so good. But girls are kicking a$$!
It was quite surprising to see such a large picture on the wall. It's actually kind of creepy!
The funniest part, to me, is how long our shorts were in 1996! Now your butt bascially hangs out of them. HA!
My cheering section!
Alexis was CRUSHING balls. And she was super sweet!
It's nice that some moms grew their girls the same height as me!
I missed a serve during the alumni vs. alumni match. I am still pissed about that. Damn you, Keller!
Uncle Scotty, the fun uncle!
Only grandmas can handle that much hugging!
Coach introducing the alumni. If you look closely I am the one slightly taller than the toddler.
Grandpa DK teaching Gabe some skills. And Gabe sporting my Roanoke volleyball shirt!
Harper, a wild one but adorable!
Throwback pic! We weren't the tallest or the most skilled, but we were scrappy as hell. I think we basically wore out the other teams!
After our loss in States. It was devastating. We were the first team to make it to the state finals and it was so disappointing to lose.
If you were a part of a high school team and you get a chance to go back I highly recommend it. A fresh pair of eyes on an old place is pretty neat.
And to this day when I have to spell my high school name, I do our old cheer:
A - L - B - E - M - A - R - L - E say go Patriots!