The Disappointment and Failure that Comes with Volleyball Life

Quarantine won't stop me from playing.

Javier Lopez

Quarantine won’t stop me from playing.

Javier Lopez, Journalist

My drive to knock down every wall on my way to achieve my volleyball goals have seemed to falter because of the pandemic.

There was a time before the pandemic, where I could play volleyball non-stop almost everyday. I would be able to go out and practice volleyball at any local park, like Salt Lake Park, Freedom Park, and Benito Juarez Park. Now after the pandemic, my parents will not let me go outside because they were worried I would catch covid. Since everyone was supposed to be quarantined, that pushed my parents’ judgment to officially keep me locked in for months. Even while knowing that my parents have said their final words about staying inside the home I still insisted to go out and practice my volleyball skills. The only thing that goes through my mind is breaking any wall that’s in my way and to give it my all to win.

Gyms are unavailable to me, so I must use what I have at home. (Javier Lopez)
No where else to practice but home (Javier Lopez)

Before the pandemic, I was improving my volleyball skills at a very fast rate since I finally found a place where I can play with fellow volleyball players. That place was my afterschool volleyball club at Maywood Academy High School. At the time I was surrounded by so many people that played volleyball. I truly felt happy. But now after the pandemic school sports were canceled until 2021. I don’t have a team to practice with. I never even had the chance to play because of the cancellation of school sports. I struggle to practice on my own and I don’t have any friends to practice with. Right now, I don’t know if I am improving or staying the same. All I can do now is just keep working hard. 

Before the pandemic, I believed my friends would be helpful and supportive of me and my volleyball dream. Now, since the pandemic, I realized that I distanced myself from my friends since they were not supportive or helpful. For the most part, most of my friends don’t play volleyball, they mostly play soccer. That makes it harder to play with them since they don’t know how to play. A few of my friends, on the other hand, call volleyball a women’s sport. I’ve even heard people use slurs, calling the sport “gay”. Since being around negative people annoys me, I decided to not hang out with those types. Ever since then I have concluded that I must rely on myself to improve my volleyball skills. 

I was able to use the weight room at school and/or go to the local gym before this pandemic. I would make it a priority to work out at least 4 times a week. Sadly, after the pandemic, I couldn’t use the weight room at school because students were not able to go back to campus and instead made to do school online. The gym was closed up until September, so for about five months I couldn’t go to the gym. But even when gyms reopened not too long ago I can no longer go because of school work. Now I can only rely on one 30 pound dumbbell I have and a few bar weights with no gym bar. It truly is a tough path for any athlete. 

I was eating healthy to become fit so I can become a better volleyball player before the pandemic, but after the pandemic, I had my days where I would feel depressed or unmotivated and constantly eat unhealthy food. Making it even harder was the fact that more fast-food was being provided for family meals because it was cheaper than buying groceries. At some point, around June and all of July, I was at my lowest: I wouldn’t say “no” to any food given to me. I would just eat it. I would spend my time eating and wondering if my volleyball dream was foolish.

One thing that’s helped me through this was actually to stop working towards my goal for a while. After July, when I was at my lowest, I took a month’s break to relax myself and get rid of all the stored up stress and failure I felt. During that month’s break I started to eat healthier, I played video games more with my siblings and did other things in order to relax until I felt I was ready to get back on the path to my goal.

As of right now in December, I have regained my passion for volleyball in my little break I had. I’ve gotten stronger both physically and mentally. I’ve become a little more confident and feel that I won’t let go of my volleyball dream that easily anymore.