Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dance, Music, Volleyball--What's the Connection?

When I was a little girl, I would dreamily watch my brothers play sports. I would listen attentively as my father would instruct my brothers on the proper way to hold their bat, stand on the pitcher’s mound, slide into a base, etc. During batting practice, sometimes I was even given the privilege of throwing the ball to my brothers as my father patiently provided them with advanced batting instruction. Mesmerized, I would listen to the admonishments and advice my brothers received from their soccer and basketball coaches. But never once did I personally participate on a sport’s team. I, like all my other girl friends, participated in dance lessons: ballet, tap, and gymnastics. In middle school, my family moved to a new town which meant leaving the small school I knew and loved and attending a large, rather tough public school. It was here that I discovered such a thing as sports teams for girls. Unfortunately, if I thought the girls in this school were mean, they were nothing compared to the type of girls who played on the sports teams! No thanks. As much as the idea of playing sports appealed to me, the idea of surrounding myself with brutal Amazon girls appealed far less. Hearing that cheerleaders competed with other squads, I pursued cheerleading, where I erroneously assumed the girls would be less vicious. I stuck with cheerleading as my “sport” through my sophomore year in college. During that year, a friend convinced me to play intramural volleyball. I had never played volleyball before, but I definitely wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to play a sport. I had a blast, and to my surprise, the women from the college volleyball team insisted I try-out for the college volleyball team. The rest is history. Although not an easy transition to go from a decade of dance to college-level volleyball, making the switch was, nonetheless, a highlight of my life. I LOVE volleyball! Additionally, almost as much as I relish playing volleyball, I love coaching volleyball. I love working in tandem with an individual and being part of the shaping process that helps them “to be all that they can be.”

Some of the PIU women's volleyball team players that I coach

And so it is that I chuckle as a type this blog. I look at the blessings I have received in my life: music lessons, voice lessons, dance lessons, sports instruction, drama/performance, and an incredible education, and I marvel at how each of those blessings has enabled me to invest in the lives of others. Whether it’s directing the Voices of Micronesia 2010 tour, providing counseling, teaching at the college, or developing and coaching a women’s volleyball team at Pacific Islands University, I so see God’s hand guiding and directing my life that I might invest in people “such as these.” I wonder what blessings you've received in your life? Don't underestimate your unique ability to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

The PIU Women's Volleyball Team
*  These pictures and video were taken at the PIU Women's Volleyball Tournament held at the Agana Heights Gym.  PIU sponsored two ten-hour tournaments with up to ten island teams participating.