“Come on girls, one more point”. I cried my heart out. I was looking at Shelly and Proza. Shelly was ready to spike.
The Game Friday
The hall was packed with students from both universities to witness the Friday Volleyball contest. From the corner of my eye, I could see our coach pumping her feast. Cheerleaders had their head in the hands and were facing away from the court avoiding the players. People were shouting as if that was the last time they were watching a volleyball match. The hall was so loud that it was impossible for me to hear my own voice. I doubt that mattered at that point in the match. Shelly was the tallest in the team and she was our best spiker. She was ready with her long and powerful arms to spike that ball down to the opponent’s court. I was looking at her frantically, sweating all over.
As a kid
I always wanted to play volleyball. As a kid going to primary school, I was into sports. I was active, athletic, outgoing and ready to roll. I have two elder brothers and I used to get into fight because they would not allow me to go to the soccer field with them. Game was an excuse for me to go outside. I would do anything if it gets me an opportunity to play outdoors. In high school, I was in the school team of soccer, volleyball, field hockey, athletics and you name it. My teachers were always proud to have an athlete like me. I won many school awards, I stopped counting them. My personality was always regarded that of a fighter.
Gradually things changed for me. It was not me who changed. I was the same old bubbly, athletic girl but my family was not lenient as before. My parents were asking me to focus more on my study. I always thought I was good enough to juggle two priorities of my life. I never thought that I had to leave the other to excel on one. My priority was to play and my family thought that was not the right use of my talent.
Despite the fact that my family was not supporting my focus on games, I enrolled in the university volleyball team. I chose volleyball because it was indoor game and I don’t have to go outside in the field. That would help me keep my secret. It was not a big deal for me but had to do it to make sure I was not ostracized for playing volleyball.
I went to University
First two years in the university was eventful and stress free. Nobody from my family was aware that I was in the university volleyball team. I managed to take part in the competitions within the university complex. I was doing fine with my studies as well and my family was happy with my focus on studies. Deep inside I was having the days of my life where I was doing what I wanted. Team coach was impressed with me. She kept telling me that I was one of the best raisers in the university and there are chances for me to be selected in the professional volleyball leagues. I was excited but also nervous by the fact that what would be the reaction from my parents.
Secrets cannot be kept forever. My brothers knew that I was taking part in the volleyball tournament and I had to go out of the state. It did not go well with my parents. Big confrontation and the weeks of family brawls after we came to an agreement that I will play my final university tournament and then quit the game if we lose. So, if we do no win the tournament, my game life was over. We were well prepared but anything can happen in games.
Back to the Friday Game
The point was crucial as we were trailing 24-23. One point and we could be back in the game. We lost that point and we were out of the tournament. One point, just one point was separating me from my dream of becoming a professional volleyball player. I was praying for God to make that point happen. I was pleading to Shelly to spike that ball and get us one point. I begged thousand times.
Riya punched the ball in the back and Proza raised it. My mouth was so dry. “Could Shelly finish this?” Shelly went up with her high jump and bammmmmm. What happened? Did we get the point? NO. The spike was outside the line and we lost that point and lost the match. On that Freaky Friday, my dreams were gone. Cold sweat ran through my back thinking how I can survive without playing.
Days passed and it had been two months after that tournament. As promised to my parents, I did not practice. These two months gave me an opportunity and time to think it through. Why can’t I do what I want to do and how can social norms decide what I want to become? I like to play and I am good at it. Why one failure should decide my fate? Any player can have a bad day and more so, I am a team player. I do not agree with the society and norms if they are here to suppress me. I will show my family and the whole world that I can decide for myself. I am capable of much more than this. Yes, I lost the match but I have not lost the mental battle to overcome obstacles.
I am stronger and let me be strong please. Let me pursue my dream.