Last year my daughter’s volleyball team traveled extensively, and although it was somewhat manageable for an eighth grader, we didn’t think this was the right choice for her when she began high school. This year she played on a Power League team that didn’t have any travel tournaments (no airplane travel), and it turned out to be the best decision we made. We had two wonderful coaches that were completely invested in the team, and it was amazing to see how much the team improved by the end of the season (three days a week practices didn’t hurt either). And they held their own in the final standings, which made us happy about the decision to not travel, and still be a part of a competitive team. There was a sense of balance with school, sports, work and family time that we didn’t have last season. So much is asked of our kids at such a young age these days, it wasn’t like this when I was growing up. In fact the level of volleyball that I see from these freshman high school girls is comparable to the level that I experienced when I played college volleyball at a Div III school. That’s crazy! Don’t get me started about school, I am flabbergasted at how high the level has risen since I went to school in the stone ages. It felt surreal to be discussing her lab project (cloning gfp, the green flourescent protein into E. coli), which is what I did in my job as a scientist at my previous company (as a paid grown up!). As a parent, I find myself wanting to protect her from all these demands and expectations that are placed on her. But really, all I can do is love and support her. The desire to play volleyball or study has to come from within. Our campervan trips have become more important now than ever to get away from it all, surround ourselves in the beauty of nature, and remind us what is important in life.
Here are some pics I took during our volleyball tournament days this season.
The team didn’t qualify for Junior Nationals, which we had no expectations to, but the silver lining is that it has now afforded us some much needed break time… until the high school season starts training/conditioning in the summer. We have a couple of longer campervan trips on the books for the summer and once my daughter is done with her finals, we’ll start planning out things to do on those trips. Hope you are having fun thinking and planning out your summer!