This week was a bit better than last at volleyball. The result was the same 0-3, 0-3 but it felt very different.
Last week we played against a team that wanted to play SERIOUS volleyball. Now you should know that this is a YMCA Adult Co-Ed Recreational league. It used to puzzle me why SERIOUS players would play in a Rec league. It took me a couple years to figure it out. Simply put they're not good enough for the Power league. They know if they played with the "Big Boys" they'd get their butts handed to them. So rather than be the lower echelons of a league that plays the sport SERIOUSLY they settle for being the champs of a Rec league.
I find that attitude both pathetic and disgusting.
In a Rec league most of us are there to have some fun and get some exercise. It's RECREATIONAL which means it's supposed to be fun. Well maybe they're having fun wiping the floor with lesser teams. Pardon me if I find the concept less than inspiring. It's the action of a bully.
So last week's team was there to WIN. One player in particular clearly had played at a highly competitive level. He had the height and skills needed to play the game well. Sadly he chose to play the SERIOUSLY. Here's the prime example of what set my whole team off. Playing at the net he jumped and spiked the ball. Directly into the sternum of one of my female team mates. Now I'm old fashioned enough to admit that the fact it was a FEMALE team mate makes a difference. So sue me. What really set us off was his reaction after hitting her. Didn't check to see if she was OK, didn't apologize for hitting her. Just turned and walked away from the net. Hey, he won the point and that's the idea right? They crushed us in three straight games. We weren't within 10 points in any of them.
Before anyone drops something along the lines of "Winning is everything, it's the only thing" on me let me note. Lombardi always felt that quote was taken out of context. He was talking about professional athletes. Not weekend warriors. Not folks playing in a Rec league. If you want go all out do it in a league set up for that. There's no trophy in our league for being the champion. We do have an end of season playoff for reasons I don't understand.
Perhaps the most disturbing final touch on this all was that the team is made up from the local school district's teachers. Makes me wonder what we are teaching our kids.
This week was different. Another team that was higher skilled than ours. (Let's be honest we are probably the lowest skill team in the league. Middle aged, short, inexperienced. We play to have fun). Whether it was us playing better (which we did) or them having an off night (which I'd bet on) the play was much closer. We nearly won all three, finished within 5 points or less in all three and generally had a good time. The other team played hard but also played to have a good time. We laughed and applauded and played recreational volleyball. They brought out the best in us. Which was cool.
One set of three losses was life giving. The other one sucked the life out of us. Hope the other team was proud of their win.
Am I bitter? Nope, they're not worth the time and energy. Just sad and irritating to have deal with people like that in this context. Be nice if they could deal with their issues on someone else's time.