“I’m not really a ‘team sports’ kinda gal,” I offhandedly mentioned to Dane’s uncle Terry at the game on Saturday. He took his eyes off the game, eyebrows raised and looked at me for a second. “Well, you picked a heck of a family to get involved with then,” he said with a laugh. Dane sat to my right, clapping his approval for a play, appearing almost calm next to his dad who’d just lowered himself back into his seat after leaping up and yelling “OUT!” loud enough to make my eyes grow big and wonder if that was a ‘normal’ reaction to girls in teeny shorts standing still while they watched a ball land on the outside of a painted green line on the floor of the AC gym.
Yep. Normal reaction. In fact, it would be one of the more subdued leaps I’d witness over the next two days.
I met up with Caila the morning before their game on Sunday. The final. I asked her as I was leaving if she’d be sticking around after the game for a bit. Her coach walked by as we were talking and said, “We’ll be sticking around to celebrate after the game on the court, if that’s what you mean.” I smiled at him, hugged Caila and wished her luck as I went to meet with a client.
Dane’s little sister, Caila is 20. She is in her third year at Mount Allison University and has played volleyball all of her life. She loves her team and I cannot count how many times I’ve heard her say “I love those girls!” when I bring them up in conversation. It’s a sight to watch them play together. Right or wrong, hit or miss, smiles or tears, they have each others’ backs. Every play is followed by a group hug, reassuring nods, high fives, and smiles. The energy in the gym when they play is unreal. Exhaustion be damned- there is shrieking, screaming, yelling, fist pumping, and arms being thrown up every few minutes. As Dane and I walked into the gym on the first day, I asked him, “What is that noise?!” slightly alarmed at what sounded like a mass slaughter, followed by strange whooping noises. He laughed and told me, “Girls volleyball, Danique. You’ll see.”
And see I did. I watched them shriek, scream, yell, fist pump, hug, and play a bit of volleyball all the way to the 5th set (that’s what it’s called, right?) of the final game of the weekend. Then I watched them cry, hug some more, smile, and celebrate on the court after the game when they won. Just like their coach said they would.