I just had the most frustrating morning.
It all began two weeks ago. At the beginning of September, volleyball season started for the Young Women in my ward. Since I am in the presidency, I made it point to be at the games to cheer on my girls. At some point, someone asked who I was and added me to a stake sports Facebook page. Fantastic. More reminders for me; that’s never a bad thing. Well, a couple of weeks ago, someone posted that we had been invited to play with another stake Saturday morning at 8 AM. I announced it to the girls, encouraged them to come, and got up early to cheer them on. There is no limit to the sacrifices I make for my young women.
This morning, with wet hair, skinny jeans, and some nude flats, I slipped out of the house while my husband snoozed upstairs and my children helped themselves to some cartoons. When I arrived at the building, I pulled into an empty parking lot, and surrounded by the company of fallen leaves, I questioned my existence. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? After waiting for a couple of minutes, another car pulled in, and then another. Strangely, none of these vehicles brought forth young women. Perhaps this stake underestimated the lure of a good Saturday sleep-in. I walked in the church with the other leaders, recognizing a few from my stake, and waited anxiously. Not a single girl showed up, but after the net was set up, the leaders began to take their spots. Wait? Are we playing? I thought. I glanced around, this time noticing a disturbing trend. All of these women were wearing workout clothes and sneakers with their hair pulled back in high ponytails. I stealthily asked if the Young Women were invited to this event, only to be answered with a resounding “No” from all parties.
My panic escalated. Here I had been promoting a game that required waking up early on the weekend that the young women were not actually sanctioned to play in. I imagined the annoyed looks on their faces guaranteed to follow this news. My prayers that one of them would show up quickly turned to prayers that they would not. Whilst I stood silently praying and panicking, one of the ladies from my stake pulled me in to play the game.
Listen, I am not an athlete. I’m confident enough to admit it. I wear glasses which are ball magnets. I’m short and chubby which means slow and useless in volleyball. Heck, I’m the girl who answers “read-a-thon” when I’m asked for my favorite sport. And here I have found myself front and center in a volleyball game against grown women who practice weekly, three of which were behemoth, towering over my 5’3” frame at six feet tall, and they actually knew how to do that bump-set-spike nonsense you see in Olympic games. Not good.
For an hour and a half, I slid around the gym in my slippery flats, ducking, rolling, screeching, and flailing every time the ball winked at my vicinity. My teammates began to gather around me so they could compensate for my obvious ineptitude. They spoke to me with kind, pity-filled reassurances, but deep down. . . deep down I knew they were secretly wishing a foul serve would knock me unconscious so they could drag me to the side and stand a chance at winning the game.
After rearranging the teams and somehow managing always to be on the losing one, we concluded for the day, and the saintly giraffes invited me to come play more often. Perhaps experience would help me be more confident in my abilities (or lack thereof). I smiled, said “absolutely” whilst subconsciously shaking my head no, and then slipped out to my car, secretly vowing to never again play this dreadful sport.
I drove down to Sandy to donate blood and then stopped by Wal-Mart to buy groceries. My arms were red, black, and blue from the beating they endured, but I bravely pushed the cart onward. My tired feet and nude flats slipped around the store, pausing momentarily to admire a purple pair of exercise capris and some blue tennis shoes. I don’t know, maybe I’ll try volleyball one more time. . .