Oh, the things we do for our children. For some unknown reason, I offered myself up for coaching the 4th grade girls volleyball team this year. These girls have never played one day of volleyball. And I haven’t played since I was the setter for my high school volleyball team. My little sister and I decided to embark on this little adventure of coaching together. It is turning out to be a little bit of fun and a whole lot of herding cats (14 cats to be exact). But most of all, I am reminded of what it is like to be 10 and how, at 45, I could use a little bit of being 10. Here are five things I have learned from these sweet and sassy spikers:
Be your own biggest cheerleader. When one of the girls makes a good serve or a great pass, they cheer for themselves. “Yeeeees!” they yell out loud. At what age did we stop cheering ourselves on like that? I love to see their proud smiles when they make a point.
Jump at the chance to get in the game. “Please, please can I go in next?” They all want a shot at the ball and they don’t stop wanting to get in the game. This really surprised me…every game. Even the girls that aren’t as athletic as others. They still want to get that chance at success. How often do we see the chance at getting the ball and instead we just sit on the sidelines? My son drew me a picture that I keep in my office that says, “Many chances will come and go”. Not for these girls and hopefully not you.
Take time to dance. I have to admit this really aggravates me. We try to get the girls to focus on the ball, to get down and get ready. And what do they do? Cartwheels, dance routines, splits. While I am trying to keep them on the task of the game, there is a part of me that is smiling inside too. Life and work and all of that should have some fun in it, right?! Don’t tell them I said this, but everyone needs to get their groove on in the midst of pressure. I can learn a thing or two from them.
Listening will get you everywhere. My Dad always said, “There is a reason why God gave you two ears and one mouth.” 10-year-olds do.not.listen. They fix their hair. They joke with their friends. They go to the bathroom. They fix their shirts. They retie their shoes. They bounce the ball. The girls who listen get the training and perform at a higher level. Every time. When they are talking, they can’t be listening. And don’t I know that this is the hardest thing for my extrovert self to do. I laugh inside when I tell the girls to stop talking and listen, as if I am re-telling myself.
Enjoy the game, win or lose. Oh yes, we all love to win. However, I have noticed that whether we win or lose (and it’s about equal so far), we are all having fun. The girls want to play volleyball, regardless of the score. The journey is more important than the outcome.
It is these reminders from the boundless energy of 10-year-old girls that stop me in my middle age tracks and force me to not forget who I was at 10. And not to lose the qualities that make life worth living to the fullest.