When beach volleyball reminds you to be brave

More and more each day, I discover just how imperfect I actually am, and it can be rather humbling (and sometimes upsetting).

Especially when sports are involved.

I played volleyball in middle school so that I didn’t have to be in the offseason class during our athletic period. I didn’t pursue it in high school because, well, it was pretty clear that I didn’t have much of a future in it.

When I was a senior in high school, though, my friends and I played in a sand volleyball tournament as part of a fundraiser event. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I played any form of volleyball, and that was 15 years ago. (Side note: I AM OLD. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??!)

I probably just soared in the air and spiked one really hard.

I’m mentoring a college volleyball player who is taking part in an internship out here this summer, and all of the young women in the internship program and the leaders of the organization play volleyball at the beach on Sunday afternoons. Sure, beach volleyball is slightly different than the indoor game they’re used to, but they’re college athletes, so they’re very skilled and seemed to adjust pretty easily. I was one of two people there who wasn’t formerly or isn’t currently a competitive volleyball player or coach.

So that was special.

I sat and chatted with another gal while most everyone else warmed up. I was definitely impressed with what I was seeing, and I suddenly felt very inadequate. My abilities on those sandy courts didn’t quite match up with theirs—I would have felt much more comfortable if we were playing basketball or going running, instead. But we weren’t. We were there to play volleyball, so that was the reality I faced.

They play two-on-two drills the whole time in which the winners stay on the court, so it’s pretty obvious when you’re the one who messes up. I finally decided that it was time for me to jump in there. I mean, why not? It’s better to get out there and try the tough things than to sit on the sidelines and watch others enjoy life without you. No, I hadn’t warmed up, but I figured that I did that 15 years ago, so I should be good.

You know what happened? I had a really great time. I also discovered that Kerri Walsh Jennings and I don’t have much in common. That’s fine, though. Visors aren’t my thing.

This is something I’m more comfortable doing—cruising on my bike with my people.

I think that there are many intimidating situations in life when you can just ask yourself a simple question: Why not? And if the answer isn’t an actual death of or harm to you or anyone else, then it’s probably OK to go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? Embarrassment? People will forget. Decreased self-esteem? Getting out there and being brave should help with that. Banishment from all of society? Not likely. Whether you flop or fly, it won’t change who you are as a person at all.

Please remind me of this when I find another fella who strikes my fancy.

It can be downright scary sometimes to let someone know how you feel or to show even a slight amount of interest when you have zero idea of how homeboy will feel in return. But I guess it’s kind of like stepping onto the sand volleyball court when you feel like you don’t really belong there—it’s all about taking chances and letting yourself be brave when you get the opportunity. You might get rejected, and you might find yourself spending yet another weekend evening with no one but the fellas on TNT’s Inside the NBA or the fictional characters in your favorite Netflix or Hulu show, but even those realities don’t change who you are.

Don’t let fears hold you back from letting yourself enjoy some of the more exciting moments in life, whether they involve sports or opening your heart to someone. To quote the great Hilary Duff, “if you lose a moment, you might lose a lot. So, why not? Why not?”

You’re worth the risk to take a chance and see what happens.



Do you usually take chances, or are you more hesitant?

6 thoughts on “When beach volleyball reminds you to be brave

  1. I went through this. This whole volleyball thing….and It’s really exhausting. Like all I think about is how they are thinking of me. Am I a loser ? Am I so shy ? …..ughh. And what you said is so true. We should enjoy our times instead of doubting ourselves. Thank you for this post 💕

    1. You are NOT a loser at all, and I hope that you always remember that!! And yes! We should definitely choose joy over doubt! ❤

  2. I really relate to what you said in your blog and it really inspired me to try new things. I am in high school now and I play indoor volleyball. I’ve always wanted to play sand and by reading this and others like it, I got really motivated. I have decided to look up some places to start playing for fun. The way you wrote this really motivated me, so thank you.

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