Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bump, Set, Spike!

Did I mention that I'm helping to coach the JV girls' volleyball team?  Yeah, go ahead and laugh.  I laughed, too, when I actually got taken up on my offer to help!

My initial thought was that this would be a good way to get to know some of the girls even better, as well as a chance to get more involved with the school.  It's all that and more.  It's also God's way of answering that New Year's resolution that I make each year about getting more active.

I had a slight problem initially -- I didn't pack any workout clothes when I came here to China!  And, being of much larger size than the typical Asian woman, I knew that finding workout pants or shorts here was a pipe-dream.  I did, however, finally work out a solution:  I bought a pair of men's pants, in a size that I don't care to mention!  They fit just fine, so today I was able to be at the practice.  Sadly, I forgot to bring my shoes with me (to school; I do have athletic shoes here in China), so I was stuck going barefoot rather than risking hurting myself in my sandals.

It was a lot of fun at the practice, but also very sweat-inducing, and not just for the girls!  We two coaches joined them for some activities.  Sam, the head coach, made the rather unfortunate rule that if no one on the side could hit the ball on the serve, that entire side had to do 10 push-ups on the spot.  After doing 20 push-ups in quick succession, we decided to alter the rule.  Shortly thereafter, we wisely abandoned it, our arms now having the strength and might of cooked spaghetti.

The girls on the team are nothing short of adorable, and are quite sweet.  A few are in my classes, which is nice, since it helps me to learn their names better (I'm still struggling to recall kids' names when they're not sitting in their assigned seats in my classroom).  I'll have more chances for getting girls' names mastered over the next two days, when we're all at Fall Camp together (all of the high school girls and female teachers will be together -- the boys and male teachers have a different trip planned at the same time).  Hopefully, I can manage to make it through both Fall Camp AND volleyball season without serious injury or mishap.

Hey, miracles can happen.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"