So I’m writing this after waking up at 7:10 a.m. today (having gotten only about 5 hours of sleep) to go to train for 7 hours at the VBClinic volleyball camp organized by Pat Powers, a world and Olympic champion. Let’s just put it this way, being coached by someone who competed and dominated at the highest level of an endeavor is an INSANE feeling. I had my butt handed to me so many times by him and the other trainers and trainees in the camp, but man, I. CAN’T. WAIT. to go back tomorrow for the final day.

Now let me tell you a story. Growing up, I was your typical physical and outgoing child. I LOVED sports and I did everything that was available to me. I ran track; I did field sports; I played soccer; I played table tennis; I played basketball; I did gymnastics. If it was a sport and it was accessible to me (read within close proximity of my house and with parental consent) then I totally threw myself at it. I wouldn’t say I was particularly spectacular at any of these things, but I definitely acquitted myself pretty decently within my group of friends. I did all these sports at some level or the other (typically not competitively other than at the neighborhood level for some of them) right up till the end of secondary school. And then I became lazy. It became once in a long while events; engaging in them whenever the (mostly rare) opportunities presented themselves.

Fast forward to my first proper job after undergrad, teaching Physics at a secondary school. All of a sudden the version of me who couldn’t do without sports came to the fore again. In addition to compulsory job of the “teacher-in-charge” (an admin assistant) for one of the co-curricular clubs, and the also compulsory involvement in the annual inter-house sports competition, I was voluntarily got heavily involved with the school sports teams; especially the track teams, basketball teams and the chess team. In the third term of my first year, I was assigned to the boys volleyball club. Even though some of my friends had competed in this in secondary school, this was the first time I had any involvement with the sport. Rather than simply mark attendance and just ‘kick back and chill’, I would listen to the coach’s tips and sometimes play with the students. Even after I was no longer in charge of the team, I continued going back whenever I had the opportunity to do so. Even playing twice in the two years we had “students versus teachers” games (which we won, duh!).

Fast forward again to the year after grad school. My LIFE group at church (which has its own day in this thanks challenge) decided to have ‘interest groups’. Basically avenues through which we could interact with people within the community who weren’t part of our church, and through everyday activities show them Christ’s love. The minute I saw a volleyball group, there was no question about what I was going to do. And so my Wednesday nights became dedicated to the sport. It was a HUGE blessing to be able to bond with my brothers and sisters in faith in an activity that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was also great to build new relationships with people I probably would never have met.

Now, I believe my life is orchestrated by God’s Will for me, but even I am shocked at how He does a lot of the things He does for me. During my final interview for the job I now work at, when my second interviewer asked me “What do you do for fun?’, I totally wasn’t expecting anything to come off my answer. I talked about how many times a week I took and taught Salsa classes and then casually mentioned the fact that other than church, I also played volleyball on Wednesday nights. The look of surprise and then delight on the interviewers face was such a joy to see. The conversation then pretty much went like:

M: You’re joking!

Me: Not at all. I play volleyball every Wednesday night.

M: Really?! Are you sure R (my first interviewer) didn’t tell you to mention this.

Me: Nope, not at all.

M: Oh my God! That’s so awesome!!! We have a volleyball team here.

Needless to say, M is now the director whose work group I’m in. She’s also the captain of the office volleyball team which is part of a Wednesday night REC-league here in SF. And she absolutely adores me. Oh, and she’s the one who told me about the volleyball camp I talked about at the beginning of this post.

So today, I’m really thankful for volleyball; for bringing me joy and new relationships (and possibly a job). The physical exercise also helps too. Lol.


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