Thursday, April 02, 2009

Anna Plays Ball

Anna on the volleyball court.
Anna, my third daughter, is younger than the other two by nearly a decade. She strives to distinguish herself from her sisters, who set the bar high with their academic achievements. Anna has spent seventh grade being a jock, playing basketball, then volleyball, and she is now co-manager of the varsity softball team.

I know little about basketball and less about volleyball. I haven't tried to learn. There seem to be enough parents around who know all of the lingo and all the strategies and who want to tell anyone within earshot what the coach is doing wrong. Seventh grade is when kids are starting to break away from their families and establish their own identities. I'm glad the coaches are there providing venues for kids to try out their newly minted autonomy.

Anna had one basketball coach who yelled, and one who wrote on a clipboard. Her volleyball coaches were mantra-types, repeating the same simple instructions, "Happy stance! Call it! Shuffle shuffle!" In volleyball, the kids were not even supposed to look at the score. They were praised by their coaches for using the proper six-step serving techinique, even if they never got the ball over the net. Once the ball was in play, they were supposed to try for six touches every time the ball came to their side, regardless of scoring possibilities.

Liz said, "Yeah, the seventh and eighth grade teams always lose, but by the time they get to ninth grade they're really good." We shall see. I'm happy to see discipline and practice stressed over "talent", whatever that is. And I'm happy to go to the games and make the popcorn when it's my turn and otherwise enjoy the show.

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