Sam E. went to interview Don Shondell a few weeks back, and I decided to tag along, I'm so happy I did because now I have that connection. Sam and I went to the 8th grade Burris game vs. Delta this evening. We got there a little early and had a chance to watch the 7th grade team, I was impressed seeing the potential that these girls had. I was astonished when it came time to watch the 8th grade team. The level that the 8th grade team was playing at was very competitive. Just watching the girls pepper and seeing the ball control they had fascinated me. During warm up when the girls where doing a passing drill, they were passing with such precision, they took the top spin off the pass!
I started playing volleyball in maybe 5th or 6th grade, at this little private school in Ft.Wayne. My 8th grade year, I wasn't nearly the athlete that these females are. I remember just playing the game without really thinking about it, no strategy. At one point, Delta and Burris had this extremely long rally. Morey was playing middle back, and on the first touch instead of passing the ball to setter, she freeballed it into the deep corner. At that moment I thought, "WOW" what a smart play! That is the one play that really sticks out in my mind, but there were other examples of how these middle school girls were playing the game smart, not just at a high skill level. I look back on when I started and how I played, and wish that I had the training these girls have. I didn't even know what it was to snap my wrist until High School.
These girls are so incredibly lucky to have these opportunities. Nowadays, sports are so incredibly competitive, the only way to compete is to become a specialist at a certain sport as early as possible. I wish I would have known that when I was younger, I wish that I would have started to play the game more strategically earlier. The Burris team is very fortunate, and they may not realize it just yet, but they will.