I knew this trip would be one of self-discovery. I’d uncover things about myself that I’d forgotten or that lay unknown, buried deep underneath all the events of the past. I’d make mistakes and learn lessons that I wouldn’t forget for my entire lifetime. I’d search my soul and come out of this knowing exactly who I am. Yesterday marked the first of these mind-blowing, life-changing, well-on-my-way-to-"finding myself" epiphanies. I learned a valuable lesson: I’m not too bad at beach volleyball.
|New friends and I (white t-shirt) mid-game.|
Before you all start signing me up to practice with Team USA, let me just add a little disclaimer. I was playing with some new, wonderful friends, and the other girls weren’t exactly experts at the sport. Ok...soo...they were pretty bad and combined with the random 10-year-old boy on the other team, they made me look stellar. Why, oh why Alicia, should we even care about your beach volleyball-induced ego boost? So glad you asked.
Athletics and I have a long, traumatic history together. A love/hate relationship really. Thanks to Mom’s gift for general clumsiness (Love you!), and inheriting virtually none of Dad’s athletic abilities, let’s just say that I somehow managed to always come home scratched and bruised after a long game of sitting on the bench. Despite my lack of talent, I just kept coming back. The thrill of competition, the family built out of great teamwork, and that feeling that comes from good ole fashioned blood, sweat, and tears always somehow had me reluctantly signing up for high school sport humiliation.
Fast forward a few years and now I don’t associate myself with any one sport in particular. If people ask me if I play anything, I generally tell them that I dabble. I’m a dabbler. I enjoy all different sports for fun or exercise but I don’t claim to be successful at any of them. So when Borja’s group of closest friends asked if I wanted to play beach volleyball out in the warm, Spanish sun, I went through my usual checklist:
Chance of breaking a limb? Low (it is sand and I probably wouldn’t hit it from a high height, as say, from a horse)
Chance of other injury? Mild (sand in the eyes or a ball to the head are both quite possible)
Chance of making a fool of myself in front of people I don’t know and would really like to impress as they are Borja’s closest friends and I’ll be seeing a lot of them in the next three months? Extremely high, but what else is new?
“Alright! I’ll do it!...I mean, si!” because I don’t know how to say “Alright, I’ll do it,” in Spanish.
And you can imagine my surprise when I wasn’t too terrible. I might go as far as to say that I was kinda good. I won’t be graduating to any advanced teams anytime soon and don’t be thinking you’ll see me on the news: “American Volleyball Sensation Sweeps Spanish National Team...By Herself!” But I held my own.
So you’re still wondering why I’m even telling you about my miraculous undiscovered v-ball skills? Well, the answer is pretty simple. I got a little boost of confidence on a day when I was nervous about meeting people who I hoped would eventually become close friends of mine. And it turns out that I probably didn’t even need it because they’re great and I can’t wait to continue our adventures together. And why not find a more talented group of people to challenge myself as a growing beach volleyball starlet? Because I almost cried laughing during this game with new friends on the beach, having a great time together, and just enjoying the day. And that’s really what it’s all about.
Thanks for reading,