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Deserving a Chance

The volleyball game is tied 14–14. Six thirteen-year-old girls dressed in black and grey are setting up to receive the serve from six other thirteen-year-old girls dressed in red and white. The parents are on the edge of their seats. The coach of our team is pacing. And my kid is on the bench.

The ball volleys back and forth. A successful spike earns our team a point. The next serve is a miss but they rally and get the ball back. The girls are screaming and cheering each other on. And my kid is on the bench. The game is won by our team with a tip that passes the front line. The girls all run together into a big pile of cheers and happiness. My daughter joins them happy and cheering, too.

We get to the car and the discussion begins. She wants to be on first string. She wanted to be out there. Why won’t the coach consider her? She does not want to be working with the one girl next to her. This girl makes mistakes. She missed a serve in game number two and was that enough to keep her out of game number three? I sit patiently and try to work this out with her.

She loves volleyball but doesn’t feel she is getting a chance. As an adult, I try to talk her through it. I am also careful not to say too much and fix it too much. With a thirteen-year-old, there is always too much from a parent. My heart aches inside because I want her to be on first string, too. Not for the glory but I feel she deserves a chance.

When does her chance come? Was it the first few minutes of the first few practices? Was it the missed serve in game number two? Was it last year when she only made the B team and did not get the same type of instruction? Was it because I could only afford volleyball day camp for three days and not a sleepover camp for a whole week?

I tell her that I am her number one fan. I am here to watch and enjoy her playing with her whole team. I talk about high school sports and what it takes to be good there. I tell her she can do it if she wants it. I tell her that she gets all the chances in the world from me.

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