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September 22, 2017

Notre Dame Volleyball and My Preparation

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Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.

Fun Facts:

  1. Most volleyball players jump about 300 times a match.
  2. Volleyball took some of its characteristics from tennis and handball.
  3. Volleyball is the second most popular sport in the world today, exceeded only by soccer.
  4.  The longest recorded volleyball game was in Kingston, North Carolina. It took 75 hours and 30 minutes.

I play Volleyball at Notre Dame and believe the sport is challenging as well as a fantastic team sport, with extreme highs and lows. You need three individuals to make a single play, for one point, 25 times. Given that you must win by two, games can proceed past the 25-point mark showing the fragility and intensity of the game. The momentum is always fluctuating to either team. The fluctuation keeps the spectators and players on their toes. In college, it’s the best 3 out of 5 sets, the last set is only to 15 and dividing the dedicated and prepared from the distracted and weary.

The manner of intensity has always been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Long road trips, early mornings, competitive tears, and sore muscles were all indicators that I was doing what I loved most. They were badges of honor, so taking my high school game to the next level was something I saw as the next prize. Physically making the transition to college is the easier part. You lift 2-3 times a week, eat way more food, and clock in more cardio than you ever have in your life; not to mention practice. Your sleep schedule takes a toll, but you learn to adjust, and you will thrive. Mentally making the transition is an entirely different story.

To prepare for this change, in short, you must take your well-being seriously. Your grades, health, and everyday choices matter to help with the longevity of your volleyball career. For the University of Notre Dame, I had to prepare myself academically for the rigor of the classroom. This task included taking AP courses and studying long hours for standardized testing. Slacking off in fitness became a diminishing option as I hoped to ease the adjustment to college-level training. I had a conversation with my future strength coach detailing what would be expected of me for my freshman year and worked adamantly to meet those standards. Your fitness level is everything when you play a sport at the college level.

What I experience every day is the legacy of greatness; this is a legacy that is recognized on a global level. To be an ambassador for this institution and what they strive for is an honor. I have learned to better myself mentally, physically, and spiritually through my daily interaction with the community on campus. A quick glimpse into the network of Notre Dame is exceedingly impressive including individuals who inspire hard work and greatness in all the lives they touch.

I think the greatest thing about being a college athlete is not everyone knows what you go through. Most people cannot fathom the sacrifice, cannot relate the agony of a loss, and cannot comprehend the euphoria of giving your all to a group of individuals outside yourself for the love of the game. But this is the beauty of it all. Because if everyone could do it, if everyone understood, the value would be lost.