Mourning the end of an era

This one might be a hard one for some of you to understand.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand as well.   But I’m mourning the end of my son’s high school volleyball season.

No he hasn’t played all his life.  No he isn’t the best vb player in the state, much less the district.  No I don’t play myself, nor am I some vb fanatic.

But between our two sons, we have been eating, drinking, and living volleyball for the last 5 years and it has been a wonderful, joyous ride that has abruptly ended.  Our younger son is a senior and the season is over.

Vb has been a place where both my boys have found a passion and have used it to find personal excellence.  Both have taken natural athleticism and have optimized their play using their individual talent set.  Jackson, our oldest son, was able to use his strategic thinking to maximize his efficacy, finding the best spot on the court to hit for best effect, or knowing when to hit hard or just tap it over.  Our younger son, Simon was able to develop and improve his strength and athletic ability to improve the speed and vertical of his attack.  Simon has always had the ability to make flying through the air look effortless and graceful, and this has only improved with time and hard work.  His ability to improvise on the court and make a micro-second shift from hitting in the middle to outside position within a single play has always astounded me (non-vbophiles: usually players play one position the entire game despite the rotation).

Vb has also allowed each boy to discover and develop his individual leadership style. Jackson has always been more like me, a visible leader that enjoys developing relationships and does not mind being the central leader figure.  He was a natural and effective leader on his high school team, assuming the team captain role starting his first year.  Simon, however, is the type of person you’d never expect to be leader.  Quietly guiding, encouraging, role modeling, he has emerged as the prototypical humble servant leader almost completely under the radar.

So it’s not that I’m some adrenaline junkie looking for that rush that comes with a beautiful “kill” or block, but the loss of vb means losing the boys’ platform for personal development, an outlet for the passion, an escape from the real world where sometimes the impossible happens.

But this blog is about finding positivity, optimism and gratitude, not mourning the end of an era.  I have to admit I am a naturally optimistic person but sometimes it is harder for me to find the silver lining in a situation.   I lay awake in the wee hours of the morning contemplating where the silver lining is for this loss.   I admit I had to fall to an old, tried-but-true standby:  when one door closes, another opens.  In this case, not only the boys but the whole family has an opportunity to do something new and fresh with the time, energy and money that is now available in abundance.  Jackson went to college and is relentlessly pursuing his interests in leadership, governance, and taking advantage of social opportunities in quantity that only undergraduates seem to be able to maintain.  What will our young son do?  Will he find a new sport?   A new hobby?  A new hairstyle?  Will he find yet another vehicle to develop, mature and contribute to society?  I can’t wait to find out.

7 thoughts on “Mourning the end of an era

  1. Sometimes those bittersweet moments can serve as a great trigger to remember that we need the bitter in order to conceptualize the sweet!

    All moments are great ones if we can only remember how they give meaning to the other moments in our past and the potential moments to come!

    Thanks for sharing the story, and for the reminder!

  2. Very well said. I dread the day my daughter stops playing volleyball and all the “extra-curricular activities” that comes with it. She is a sophmore in high school and may not play next year but there is club volleyball that she is very involved in. It seems that every weekend there are out of town trips for tournaments and all the excitement (and anxiety) that usually comes along on the trips. Nonetheless, I’ve seen my daughter grow so much and I am enjoying the ride. As they say, “Eat a light lunch and put on your seat belt” because it’s a bumpy ride. I’ll miss it when it stops.

    1. I had to work really hard at trying to be present – not only for volleyball but just even for the idea of the kids going away to school. It’s so hard – you know they should go and you want them to go but part of you just wants to hold on.

      Now that this stage is upon me, I’m continuing to try to be present and appreciate the time I have left with them (instead of worrying or dreading) and enjoying the new phase of their life. And of mine. There’s a new freedom that other parents talk about when their kids go away. Amazingly they also talk about how it puts a cramp in their style when the kids come home. I haven’t experienced that yet with my older son, we’ll see.

      Good luck to you and enjoy savoring every bit of the chaotic fun!

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