Friday, December 11, 2009

Old Age And Treachery Will Overcome Youth And Skill

My brother's and I's volleyball team is certainly not without skill. In fact, my brother is one of the better players in our league. But last night we lent our support to the old adage. We played a team of early 20 somethings. Before the game, as we were stretching we saw our opponents doing the same. We joked that when we were their age we warmed up for games with shots of Tequila. Not these guys. They had talent, speed, and youthful energy. Both their guys could jump serve and their girls were good setters and could hit when in that position. They had beat us in the regular season when we were short handed.

And we knocked them out of the playoffs in straight games.

They telegraphed their hits. They didn't switch their guys into hitting positions giving us rotations that produced a lot of free balls. And more than anything when they got down they couldn't recover. The last game was a rout, 21 - 8.

Mental toughness when playing sports is an interesting thing. The greatest players certainly have it. In the pro sports one thinks of Jordan and Tiger. These are guys that would do anything possible to win. Now I'm not even beginning to say our team has that kind of intensity. We don't. At our level of play though you can see the break down on other teams and the younger teams suffer from it more often. One team in our league has a group of very good players, a team that "on paper" should compete for first place, almost always loses in the first round of the playoffs. They fall apart when they start losing and start making mistakes. The same thing happened to the team we beat last night.

I don't know how one teaches or learns to keep the focus. Maybe it can't be taught. Perhaps it is something gained when one is down and overcomes adversity. And not just in sports but in other life situations. The confidence that comes from learning you can win at the game of life. The confidence is not necessarily a direct function of age as much as it is experience. All pro athletes have some level of this confidence because they have been playing their respective sport for so long. Again, we're not pros but we've played together for a lot of years now. We know what each other is capable of doing. And we've lost games and we've come back when it looked sure we were going to lose.

Those poor kids didn't stand a chance last night.

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Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I would love to join a real beginners volleyball league--a league where no one really cares how you do, and everyone pretty much sucks. I would enjoy that. :)

3:56 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

There are several options. Look at Sports and Social Club or Sports Monster. They both have beginner leagues that will probably start after the first of the year.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Thanks for the tip! :)

2:21 PM  

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