An application I was filling out recently had this question:

"Tell us about your proudest moment"

This caught my attention as being a particularly good question, especially since the rest of the application had been so plain vanilla. Below is my answer, for your reading pleasure.

"The moment that sticks out in my mind was a couple of weeks ago in Louisville. I was there with my team for the men’s college club volleyball national championships, and it was after we had played our final game. That final game was a very close loss in the semifinals to a high caliber team we really didn’t like, so spirits were low. The loss burned deeply, and there was initial bitterness. However, while walking out of the arena we all started talking about the tournament as a whole; how we had won some huge games and played by far the best volleyball we had all season. By the time we got to the cars, everyone had forgotten the rough loss. Everyone was grinning from ear to ear, laughing loudly, and talking about how incredible the whole experience had been.

    In order to understand why this made me so proud, you have to understand my relationship to this team. I am the club president, team captain, and also serve as our coach due to the lack of a men’s volleyball scene here in Eugene. Last season we had a very solid squad, but this season was an entirely different animal. Out of twelve players on the team last year, there were only two returners (including me) as everyone else graduated or quit due to time constraints. This season I had to rebuild the team from scratch, bringing in thirteen new players (including starters and practice players). Of the thirteen I originally brought in, four quit (time constraints) and one was concussed so severely that he couldn’t play for the rest of the year. So I adapted; I brought in an old friend, convinced a former player to return for nationals, and adjusted the lineup to make it easier on the younger players.

    Running (and playing on) the team this year was the most stressful and problematic thing I have ever done, but what made it worth it was that everyone bought in. No one complained about the struggles we faced both on and off the court; everyone focused on getting better every week. Everything went wrong at one point or another this season, but no one got down about it. So when we walked out of that arena and my teammates, my brothers, and my best friends were so obviously stoked about not only our performance as a volleyball team but about the experience as a whole, I was incredibly proud. I put everything into that team, and while there were more problems than I can list, the results were more than I could have ever asked for. Not only did I get the fun of playing and celebrating as a player, I earned the pride of knowing that the positivity I enjoyed was possible as a result of my hard work to keep the team together and moving forward."

I had been in the process of writing an entirely different post to cover the events of this season, but this ended up being a far better summary. Thank you to the application for drawing it out of me, and thank you to my teammates for an unforgettable season. Go Ducks!

2016 NCVF Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky