Long weekends suck. At least when the weather is crappy and you have nowhere to go.

St. P’s annually stretches out President’s Day weekend to build some snow make-up days in the schedule before spring break. Since we’ve had no snow days this year, we’ve been lucky enough to have a five-day weekend. When the temps have been stuck below freezing with wind chills below zero the entire time. And no snow to play in.

I was sick of my kids 48 hours ago and we still have another day to get through.

Serenity now…

Both Saturday and Sunday had nice, short diversions, though. M. had volleyball games both days.

Her team is good. Really good. Coming into the weekend, they had swept every match 2–0 and only once had the other team made it to even 19 points against them.[1] They have several decent players, but one girl in particular is kind of kick ass. She serves overhand, and hard. With some swerve. In a sport where at least half the players can’t get an underhand serve from a box inside the main court over the net, having a couple girls who can serve is huge. When you have someone who has pace and movement on the ball, you’re tough to beat. And this girl is also athletic, so she can get around the court and return balls not hit directly to her. A week ago, she nearly blocked a girl at the net and came close to spiking.

Again, she’s a fourth grader. Although she is, by far, the tallest kid in her grade at St. P’s.

Anyway, she was gone over the long weekend. So there was some nervousness as the team had two games, and one loss might be enough to knock them out of the post-season tournament.

Should have not worried. They crushed both teams they played, easily. They were actually behind 5–0 in one game and still roared back to win without much effort.

There are just two games left in the season. The standings are a week behind for some reason, but it looks like one of the teams they will play was still undefeated as of a week ago. Win that game, and our girls will go to the city championship tournament. Which would be pretty cool. St. P’s won a couple city championships in boys basketball last week, including the fourth grade team. So it would be awesome if the volleyball girls matched them.

M. has done well. She served out the match Saturday, winning the final two points. She’s typical of most of the girls on her team. Sometimes the serve gets over the net; sometimes it doesn’t. She’s made some good returns. She’s not super aggressive, but that fits her personality. I think she likes volleyball better than kickball since it’s less dependent on strength.

It’s been really frustrating for me to watch the games, though. As a few readers know, from being on a team with me, I played a lot of volleyball back in the day. In my final few years in Kansas City, I generally played on two teams at a time — both 6-on–6 and 4-on–4 — in my employer’s rec leagues. I’m not going to pretend I was great, but I was a pretty solid player, better on defense than offense at the net, decent serve, and able to chase down and return just about anything that came to me in the back line.

So when four girls stand there and watch the ball hit the floor between them, it kind of drives me crazy. I know, they’re fourth graders playing the game for the first time. Still, I do a lot of muttering under my breath during games.

Fortunately, they get better quickly. We can already see improvement in M. and her teammates. Sunday all the games were running behind and we got to watch a 5th/6th grade game between two good teams. It was fun to watch, as just about every serve made it over the net and most girls could return the ball. The St. P’s team was even passing to the middle then setting the ball for outside hitters, although the hits were decidedly below the net. Still, good, fundamental volleyball.

If you haven’t played volleyball since high school gym, all games are rally scoring now. Which means the team that wins the point, gets a point, even if they were receiving the serve. First two games are to 25, win by two. If a third game is needed, they play to 15, again needing to win by two.  ↩