Well, the time has come-- the time of year that I’ve watched so many seniors before me arrive at. But now, it’s our turn. The funny thing is that it hasn’t really hit me yet. The other day coach sent out a text about an email she sent to the returners, so I immediately went to my mailbox to check it out. After a second of refreshing the page, I realized, “I’m no longer a returner” and that made me sink in my chair. But, looking back at the season and my four years with this program, my fellow seniors and I have been blessed beyond belief. You’ve probably heard it a million times, but these women + coaches mean the world to me and their friendships are what makes this program great. Sure, they’re all very talented at volleyball as well, but trust and chemistry takes a good team to the next level. I was asked by a friend the other day if I missed it. I answered with, and can honestly say, I’ll miss it every single day.
But, that being said, WE DID IT!!! We won the National Championship! What a way to end a senior’s career. A very limited number of people get to say they won their very last game and, I’ve got to tell you, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. Now I’ll tell you a bit about our time at nationals.
While in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at nationals, my teammates and I had the time of our lives. One of our favorite things to do at the end of every year is have a music video competition! You may remember we did something very similar at the very beginning of the year as well and that was one for the books, so this one would be hard to top it, but, I think we succeeded! The freshman performed “(I’m Bringing) Sexy Back”, the sophomores did “Tik Tok” featuring Jamie Petrarca as Kesha, the juniors did “Best of Both Worlds” featuring Kristen Vyletel as Miley/Hannah, and Kelly, Kielley, and I made teammates tear up with our rendition of “The Climb” with Ki as Miley Cyrus. If you want to laugh until your side hurts, just ask a Calvin volleyball player if you can watch their classes’ video because they were all great, but I can’t promise they’ll let you!! J The coaching staff also joined in on the fun as well with their own video—a little crime investigation adventure, which they showed to us before the national championship game as inspiration/motivation. We were dying of laughter! Also, before each game in the locker room, we have a little dance party. And, luckily, Kristen remembered to bring our disco ball with her to Wisconsin, so that we could continue our dance parties in style. “No Air” was again screamed at the top of our lungs and Jessie J led us in the “Juju on That Beat” dance before each game, per our ritual.
Then, before the championship game, Keilahna and Anna discovered that God had a special message for us via the November 19th, Jesus Calling devotional and they read it to us in the locker room. I was tearing up in awe of how appropriate it was for us at that exact moment. It said:
“Leave the outcomes up to Me. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your Guide and Companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Me. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help. When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me. You already know the ultimate destination of your journey: your entrance into heaven. So keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving the outcomes up to Me.”
This left me speechless. God knew exactly the words to lay on our hearts and keep us calm in such an exciting and nerve-racking time. Coach preached all of tournament time: “let go of the outcome, just play for the point.” So this message just reinforced that in our minds, and for me, personally, reinforced my faith in Him.
During the championship game, there was a mandatory ten-minute break between the second and third sets for some kind of promotional thing for the viewers. So we went back to our designated area and, for the first 7 minutes, we played some games to keep things light. One of our favorites is “the eye contact game”, where everyone is in a circle and looks up at the same time. If you’re making eye contact with someone when you look up, you’re both out, if you’re looking at someone who is looking at someone else, you’re safe. We always have fun with this one. Then, after that, we started playing a game called “pterodactyl”. You all sit in a circle and it you say “pterodactyl” it keeps going the same direction around, but if you make a dinosaur noise, it reverses. But, the trick is you can’t show your teeth ever, which is very difficult when you’re laughing so hard!!! I’m not joking when I tell you that some of us almost peed our pants laughing. This memory is definitely one of my favorites from the season.
So there are some of my thoughts on my time with Calvin volleyball and a little nationals recap! It’s been such an honor for me to represent Calvin College on the court for the past 4 years.
Laura Danhoff, Sr. #11