I’ve been waiting weeks for this day — restless waiting that seemed to endlessly drag on. Nearly everyday I’d run into others who were going to join me, and we would always talk about how excited we were for it. For weeks we did this.
And finally, that day came.
On Saturday, 12 of us — 6 individual teams — from the George Fox Spikeball club competed in a tournament at the University of Oregon. With excited smiles and muffled yawns, we met at 7:20 A.M. and set off for a full day of playing a sport that we love. Of course, it wouldn’t be an exciting day unless I had accidentally driven to the wrong university — Oregon State University — first. With laughs and a semi-panicked drive, we finally arrived at U of O around 10 minutes before the tournament was scheduled to start.
We started with pool play, with all the teams divided into two pools, then playing every team within their respective pools. My partner and I… well, let’s just say the wins we had were decent and the losses we had just left us with our jaws hanging, trying to figure out what we could have even done different.
Our teams didn’t have the best showing in the tournament — except for the leaders of our group, who called themselves the Foxy Men (for good reason, I might add). They got second place in the individual tournament, and because of them, our university got second in the collegiate portion of the tournament.
The tournament ended around 4:30 P.M., and by the time we got back to our university, it was just around 6:30. In other words, it was an extremely long, tiring day.
But, it was completely worth it.
For me, it didn’t matter that our university didn’t get first. It didn’t matter that my partner and I didn’t dominate (though of course, that would’ve been nice). It didn’t matter that half way through the tournament my body was aching in every joint as if I was a rickety-old-grandpa. None of this matters because none of this is what I’ll hold onto decades from now when I think back to this day.
What I will always hold onto is the journey there and back, with all its mishaps and great conversations. I’ll always hold onto the excitement at competing against players who were exponentially better than I was and at being able to learn how to be better. I’ll always hold onto the laughs shared with our own teams and with completely new people from other colleges. I’ll always hold onto the experience of being with a wide gathering of people who gathered together to play a game and have fun with brand new people.
Even when my body finally does become too old for this sport, I’ll always remember the people.