Missing in action

Missing in action

Eric Wong

When you’re 6000 miles from the volleyball court, it’s rather hard to contribute to the team

Commitment. Pride. Making volleyball a top priority.

These are the phrases that run through my head on a daily basis as a member of the varsity volleyball team.  

So much has changed for the school’s volleyball program in such a short span of time.  Last year was a rebuilding year.  As a sophomore on the varsity volleyball team, I admit to messing around during practice and putting in lackluster efforts for games that I knew we would lose.  It didn’t matter because I knew I was guaranteed a starting position as a middle blocker.  

This year, most of the players on the team have gained a year of club volleyball experience.  Our team has a legitimate shot of competing for a Central Coast Section playoff bid.  

On March 17, at 5 p.m. PST — while my teammates were warming up for their first league match against Harker High School — I was sitting in a fancy restaurant having an animated conversation with a number of friends in the middle of New York City.  

When I got back to the hotel, I texted my friend Jeffrey Zhang about the score and he responded, “We lost 3-0.”  

Four straight league losses later, I wonder if my lack of attendance made a difference.  I know I’m not the superstar and my presence is usually not the difference between victory and defeat.  However, I am a part of the whole team, and I must take responsibility for not being there to cheer on the team and contribute with a few blocks and kills. 

After sorting through the swirling emotions of being unable to actually contribute as much as I could, I decided to quit because I could no longer be committed, I had no pride in losing, and volleyball was no longer very high on the list of things I enjoyed doing.  

Thankfully, I had the support of a close friend and the coach, Paul Chiu.  When he asked me if I wanted to play in the next game even though I had formally resigned, I agreed.  After the game, we had a short discussion and he expressed how much he wanted me as a part of the program.  He understood my situation and we agreed I would be a part of the team and as long as I could make a few practices, I would get some playing time.  

Having a defined commitment now gives me the freedom to invest my mind and body when I am able to attend practice.  Every time I take a swing, I know that I am not being held back by the three other things that I should be spending my time on.  I can pursue everything else I love while still enjoying time on the volleyball court.