Bump, Set, Spike

May and WalshSo the Olympics are over. All the athletes have gone or are going home and Athens is being swept up. We’ll have to wait another four years for another Summer Games.

Truth be told, I really hate watching sports on TV. About the only thing I dislike more is actually participating in sports. All that running and jumping and… whoa… I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

But, I have to say, one sport I enjoy playing is volleyball. I don’t know why, but I always found volleyball to be fun to play and rather satisfying as well. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be in super shape or because you don’t have to run much, but I like it. I really enjoy two on two, although it’s a lot more work. And I actually enjoy watching it. Watching Misty May and Kerry Walsh mop up the court with every single was somewhat inspiring. I won’t mention the other reason I liked watching them play, but it’s probably obvious.

Anyway, volleyball is an OK sport. In fact, in college, I took Class Volleyball as one of my PE electives. I was thinking back to that class while watching the olympics the past couple weeks. I was in the class with three other English majors. I did my student teaching at the same time as one of them. I think his name was Tim. Tall guy, blond hair. He was a closet Mac guy, and I tried to coax him out, but Doom got the better of him. Anyway, the other two guys were kind of peripheral for me during my college career. In the cast list of my life, they would have been Other Volleyball Guy 1 and Other Volleyball Guy 2. We had a good time in the class, though.

Believe it or not, we four English majors were not stellar athletes, me especially (remember, this was college, so picture me with 50 pounds more than I have now). But we didn’t care. We had a good time, but we annoyed the living crap out of the professor. Professor seems like a strong word. Professor of Volleyball? Anyway…

When the prof would give us advice, we’d twist it into Zen Volleyball advice and use it as a mantra. For example, one piece of advice the prof gave us was the deeply insightful: “Jump, find the ball, hit the ball.” We turned this into: “Jump, find the ball, be the ball.” Personally, I disregarded the prof’s advice, and still do to this day. I prefer to know where the ball is before jumping, otherwise I’m just wasting jumps and looking more stupid than usual.

We always played six to a team, and the four of us would always team up together, much to the great disappointment of the other two players that got stuck with us, because we lost every single game we played together. We didn’t just lose. We get creamed. Whooped. Cleaning of clocks. You name it. But we did it laughing, yelling to each other, “Be the ball!”

One day, apparently, the prof had had enough. After his demonstration, he told us to team up. So the four of us searched for two victims. But the prof stopped us. “No,” he said. “No more.”

We looked at each other in surprise.

“You guys are all on different teams from now on.”

We sulked off and joined other teams, but Class Volleyball was never the same after that.

After class that day, I walked up to Tim and said, “You know what?”

“What?” Tim replied (since it was the obvious response to my prompt).

“We were mainstreamed today.”

As education majors, we found this hilariously funny and laughed for a long time.

I ended up with a B in Class Volleyball, mostly because I had a positive attitude and I did well on the written final exam.

Seriously, there was a written final exam.

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