Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Day of Volleyball with Hops and the Team

Thursday afternoon I was giving assessments in my classroom, and I had my phone next to me to use my timer. I briefly saw an update at the top that mentioned the name of my favorite teacher sending me a message. Given that we are both teachers, this has never happened, so I checked it. (I don't do this on a regular basis during teaching hours, I just wanted to make sure all was well with her.) As it turned out, she let me know that her volleyball team was playing in a tournament not far from my house on Saturday (today) and would love to see me. I smiled and immediately told my students. For those of you new to my world, my favorite teacher that I had as a kid, was Hops. I had her in 8th and 9th grade PE. She is one amazing gal, and will always have a special place in my heart. Always.

In the midst of talking to the kids about Hops in my classroom, I also made a comment that I should have kept as a thought bubble, not a speech bubble. I said, "For Hops, I'd be there at 8am." (Tournament started at 8am.) After that, two students said, "You're never at my games at 8am." Um, I see some early Saturday mornings in my future. *giggle*

Anywho, I got up early and was there about 8:02am. I walked in and quickly saw Hops with her team on the court. I smiled and sat on the top row so that I had the wall to lean against with my back. They lost the first two games, and then it was clear there was a break. When it seemed the right time, I went over and said, "Hi."

I was greeted with a hug from Hops, and was immediately introduced to everyone around her. I'm not sure what I expected, but being introduced to everyone wasn't it. *grin* Before I knew it, I was talking about camp to one of her volleyball players and parents. (One of my favorite things to talk about.) It was fun. When we were waiting for the next game to finish we were standing at the top of the stairs watching the game, and had one of the most memorable chats I've ever had with her. She's one amazing gal, and I remember thinking (as we were talking) what a heart she has for her loved ones. She inspired me even more today. I think that's cool.

Throughout the afternoon, we would chat in between games. Every chat was precious to me, as I learned more about the gal who inspired me to go into the classroom and teach more than just content. We also laughed with her players from time to time which was fun for me too. At one point, I said, "Kids are awesome", to which she replied, "I don't like them at all." We both laughed. It was SO MUCH FUN. *grin*

We worked on naming one of the girl's new dogs. The names they came up with were hilarious. Hops had some funny ones too. I hope to hear what she finally chose. "Olive" just didn't work for me. *giggle*

She has one player that hasn't washed her knee pads in a year or two because she considers it good luck. The girls were laughing about how they smelled. At the same time, it was their team joke, so it was fun. It was a GREAT memory for those girls, as well as for Hops and me. We talked about how for some kids they can pull it off, and for others that wouldn't work. For this young lady, it worked, and made everyone smile. I liked it. *grin*

In between the chats, I watched her team play volleyball. It was the first time in YEARS I sat and watched volleyball for any length of time. I loved to play volleyball as a kid, but it wasn't a game I was ever good at. I was just happy if I served and I got the ball over the net. Watching today, Hops' girls knew how to play the game! It was awesome. *grin*

So, early on while I was watching the volleyball games, something occurred to me. When a ball would get out of control I would think, "Uh Oh", but the girls knew how to get it back under control (sometimes, not always, obviously) and over the net. They didn't stress about it. They worked together as a team and got it under control. So often life is like that, but we don't always handle it with the grace that the girls often did today. Sure, sometimes it meant sliding on the floor to get a ball back up, or yelling "out" when a ball went out of bounds so that no one would try to get it. Life is full of ups and downs, but life keeps going. I also think we have people around us to help us and yell "out", or whatever it may be, when we need it. Kinda neat if you ask me. *grin*

The team came in fourth in the tournament, and it wound up being an all-day thing. I honestly loved every minute of it.

After it was all over, I managed to get a pic with Hops. What can I say? In 1988 and 1989 cell phones with cameras weren't around. *grin*

When we were walking back to where her team was gathering, she told me how proud she is of me. I already knew that, but I smiled when she said it. This gal knew me as a teen when I was far from the adult I am today. She cared for me right where I was at, just as I do with my students. I was fortunate to have her. Totally. *grin*

We laughed at how long it's been since we've seen each other. (16-ish years) Needless to say, she said she'd let me know next year when this tournament comes around. *grin* Awesome.

Dog names.
Knee pads.
"I'm proud of you"

Today was just one of those days I'll never forget.


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