I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with her between the semifinals and the championship game. But I could tell by her body language that she was okay. Better than okay. A mom can tell these things. A dad can’t. That’s just the way it is.
I’d like to say a few words about her coach. This is the first year Lucy has played on his club team. But he has known her since freshmen volleyball. He was the assistant varsity coach Lucy’s freshmen and jv team years. But the coaches, of course, knew all the girls…watching and assisting in the selection of their future players. This coach and the varsity coach weren’t rehired for the next year, when Lucy would be playing varsity. Some issues between the head coach and the athletic director.
But this coach knows her very well. Knows her struggles with her mental game. He truly wants to see her succeed…all of the girls succeed…and grow as players in every way.
As the girls were finishing their warm up and he was walking off the court he turned to Lucy and said something. And she nodded her head and said, “okay”. No smile, no other reaction. She continued warming up. And I began to fret.
Time for the match to begin. The parents were PUMPED. This was our first championship game after weeks of potential…here it was coming to fruition. And we had just beat a team in the semis we have never been able to beat before. As the team gathered for their last minute pep talk, I was squirming in my seat…if Lucy sat this first game…what would her reaction be? Did she really pull it together in that hallway? How could she? She’s only a 16 year old girl? My baby girl. And I started to pray. Not for her to play, but for her thoughts, her negative self talk. That I oh-so-recognized and struggled with myself.
As the team broke and the girls split up, Lucy looked up into the stands and gave us a big old grin. And stepped onto the court. I relaxed a little. And as the game began, I relaxed a lot. She played with confidence. With her head in the game. Making an error here or there but recovering immediately and playing the next ball. Her jump serve was flawless. She made no serving errors and in the tie-breaker third match, she ran the score up 6-0 with her jump serve.
And they won the gold.
As I sat there watching them celebrate, I tossed up a questioning arrow prayer, “Why now, God…and why are we still dealing with this in volleyball, in school, in LIFE with her?” And His response…”Because it is MY plan, Susan. Not yours. And because YOU need to practice what you preach…pray unceasingly…about everything.”
One of these days, I’m going to get the Gold, too. Walking as closely as I can with Him. So closely that I bump into His shoulder every step of the way.
And that victory will be oh so sweet.