A local volleyball player digs into the South Bay’s beach scene.
the one that got away
Mistakes. We make them. And after we make them we (hopefully) learn from them. I’d like to tell you about a particular mistake I made during last season…the story of the one that got away.
Her name was—and still is—Pri, short for Priscilla, even shorter for professional beach volleyball player priscilla lima. The brazilian-born ball of fury blessed the beach of Hermosa last summer—specifically, the court that I had been training on all season with Adriano Ticao. I didn’t exactly know what she was trying to gain from her (late in the season) West Coast trip but we ended up side by side on numerous drills, and playing like so many others across our long stretch of sand.
My coach gave Pri full clearance to coach me, which meant that she was not shy about interrupting drills to correct me, mold me, or explain something. Being on the receiving end of pointers and advice was not unusual for me. I had become quite used to my role as a “sponge” last season, soaking up as much information as possible from anyone willing to share his or her knowledge and experience. Pri is one of those personalities that genuinely wants those around her to succeed which, in this sport, is especially gracious since we are repeatedly facing off against each other come tournament time. She isn’t just out there for herself, and that is a quality that I truly admire. It shouldn’t be surprising then to hear that over the course of just one two-hour session with Pri my head felt incredibly dense with information—I had to repeatedly step back and take a few moments to ring myself out to dry.
Anyways, this is how life played out for weeks until one day Pri asked me if I wanted to play with her in a tournament. The following weekend. In Florida. A dance involving butterflies and dollar signs filled that cartoonish thought-cloud above my head. Shit. Playing alongside an accomplished, FIVB player like Pri!? What a great opportunity, I can’t say no! oh, but what about the hefty plane ticket? A noticeable dip in my savings…but how can I say no?
Somebody did say no: my boss. I was already scheduled to work that weekend and despite my frantic efforts no one could cover my shifts. Pri suggested that I call in sick, telling me about a former player who had done just that to compete (and subsequently was viewed on national television by her superiors, but that’s another story). Though tempting, I knew I couldn’t stomach that kind of deceit, especially since work had already caught wind that I wanted these days off.
And there you have it, the “pri pickle”. I ended up saying no, and what I felt was relief in my pockets and disappointment just about everywhere else. It’s a funny thing because you work hard to save money to compete yet work ends up being the thing that prevents you from playing. Counter-intuitive, really. This was an important lesson that I learned.
This time around, I’m not going to let my job jeopardize opportunities. I have to set myself up so that I can jump on a plane and fly across the country to play with an amazing player, even if just for the experience. She was willing to take that risk with me, but I wasn’t willing to face the repercussions of skipping out on work. And I don’t believe that my mistake was choosing not to bail on work: my mistake was not giving myself the option of saying “yes”.
Pri, if you’re reading this, I won’t let you get away twice.