One of my first life-changing symbols I was taught as a child was the bright red octagon. I don’t think I could even read the four letters written in bold white capitals in my first exposures to it. STOP. You know, anticipate slowing before you get to the curb; STOP; look both ways, double check; then ease forward towards the destination.I think the power of STOP seared permanently in my brain on a routine Saturday morning. Everyone in the neighborhood knew I ruled the sidewalk on my block at 8:30 am. It was my Tour De France, and every kid knew their ego was in jeopardy in testing me and my Big Wheel. There were no challengers this day so I just worked on my personal record for a lap around the block.I strapped on my Pro Keds and away I went, negotiating every corner like a pro; except the last one. It must’ve been a rock that threw my front wheel into a spin before I could pull my power brake or put my feet down. I was not going to make the turn. I was clearly going to go off the curb. There would be no anticipation to slow down or look both ways before crossing. So I did what every hero does in the moment before death—I slammed my eyes shut and accepted the probability that I would pee my pants.Someone barked, “STOP!"
That split second command is the only reason I’m typing today. It created just enough pause for Dane, a real cyclist who rode on the street, time to brake and veer left, thus making it possible for me to race another day.
Yes, you already know it, but this sport gets confusing sometimes as to how much is too much. We love it and want to be the best but this race is long and we must survive it—individual confidence, skills development, athletic training, time-management with academics, competition, player dynamics, team placements, injury prevention, college dreams. That’s a lot!! And yet, many get it done and flourish.
So I think it’s about going back to that symbol we all know and what it reminds us to do. Volleyball at its best requires a STOP in all capital letters.
Let’s STOP. With SCVA, school, and club pulling at us, let’s anticipate some planned time to slow down.
Let’s look both ways in our players’ lives and see what’s been accomplished already and what is really needed to meet goals.
Double check ourselves again before stepping off the curb. Do we have enough family time, friend time, Disneyland, or hammock time in the breaks that we do get? Do we need to create more breaks? I know the sweet spot is somewhere between pushing hard for growth, knowing the yearly schedule of a program’s expectations of its players, and to loosely quote a doctor friend of mine in that it takes about 21 days for good athletes to get “out of shape”. Hmmm…
Ease forward. Though the word “ease” seems slow to my competitive spirit, I look forward to your destinations and being a part of your process getting there.
Maybe I’d better exercise STOP even now and put this computer down and get in the sun a bit before summer ends, and trainings begin, and the referee whistles haunt my sleep again. After 20 years, I keep coming back so something's working!
Tag(s): CITY Blasts