Anyone who knows me will tell you I am pretty much sports illiterate for an American.
I grew up with my father taking me to professional sporting events where I would sit and read a book. I went to a college with a fantastic basketball team and I can’t remember if I ever attended a game.
But, these days, I am learning a lot about volleyball as my older daughter is in her second year playing the club sport. I find myself screaming from the sidelines thing like: Get it back girls, shake it off, side up, talk to each other, good hustle ...
Seriously, I really have absolutely no idea what I’m saying. It’s like some sports mom from a Lifetime movie has taken over my body and she is speaking through my mouth like a ventriloquist. I am powerless under her spell.
So, I ask a lot of questions of the other mothers about why and how the girls rotate positions, why the referee keeps giving the ball to the other side, and how many times are you allowed to hit it again? But, what I lack in knowledge, I am truly making up for in my passion for watching these girls play.
My favorite part of the game is that in between each point the girls run into the middle of the court and embrace. Let me rephrase that, they hug. They circle up and wrap their arms around each other’s waists.
This doesn’t just happen when they make a point, this happens in between every single point, win or lose. As many times as I watch this, I am always a little misty-eyed as I think, in what other sport do players hug?
Sure, they’re great athletes. They jump higher than I could even if I were standing on hot stones. They hit the ball so hard I’m pretty sure I would end up with a concussion if I spent 30 seconds on the court.
But I am not as wowed by their athletic prowess as I am by their team spirit, their collaboration and their continual support for one another. They are learning life lessons much greater than just how to serve or pass a volleyball, lessons that adults could also use some brushing up on.
Imagine if we had group hugs at work when something went well or when something went poorly. Who knows? It might be exactly what we need …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.