Two teams, too stressed

Jaime Hum-Nishikado
Sports Editor

I have played basketball since I was 5 years old, and I have dedicated all my rime and effort into the sport – going to countless numbers of tournaments and practicing for hours on end – so coming back to play volleyball for my senior year has been stressful and exciting at the same time.

During my years off, I watched the volleyball team reach playoffs and go far in North Coast Sections. Cheering the girls on from the stands, I imagined myself being on the team, coming into the middle of floor cheering for every point we made. I would tell myself, “You can play! You should play for your senior year!” and then, “It would be fun to play, but you have to focus on basketball.”

I made the decision to rejoin volleyball two weeks before senior year started. But traveling around California to play in basketball tournaments, I was only able to attend three of the 20-plus open gyms over the summer. At the first pre-season practice, I struggled and failed to hit the ball over the net.

With work, I was on varsity, but when practices began, I was completely lost in the sets the coaches were trying to run — I did not understand the terminology. Eventually, I got the hang of it, but during practice I looked at the six baskets around the gym and all I wanted to do was grab a basketball and shoot.

When it was time to play our first game and the lineup was called in the huddle, I was shocked to hear my name called. I didn’t expect to start. During each game I found myself hitting harder and blocking stronger, but I still couldn’t get basketball out of mind. It kills me everyday that I cannot play until this season is over.

We are now making our way into the playoffs and I expect us to come out as winners. My mind is focused on getting to the championship game and bringing the trophy home, but in the back of my mind, I know this volleyball season will spill over into the start of my basketball season and I won’t be ready.

This thought makes me feel uneasy. A part of me wants to leave the team now so I can focus on my “real” sport, but I can’t quit during the most critical part of the season — physically or mentally.

I’m proud that I’m honoring my commitment, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The big picture of playing two sports looked great from the outside, but I wish I had taken the time to compare schedules and ask, “What if?”