This year, JV volleyball is a lot more fun to me. Last year I thought I had to win every single game and I got very stressed and nervous every time we played a game. This year, I realize that it’s not all about winning; it’s about supporting the team and giving my best, so I can get better and better. Last year I also thought that if I sat on the bench for most of a game it was because I wasn’t good at volleyball, but now I understand that the coach puts my on the bench so I can cheer on my team and so other people have a chance to play. This year I feel like I play better and know more about what it means to be on a team. I understand now that if someone on my team plays a little more time on the court than I do, that’s ok and that means I can cheer them on. And if someone on my team plays a little less than me, that’s ok too, it means I can encourage them more and teach them that coach puts us on the bench so we can support the others on the court.

And I don’t think it’s just me who has changed about the way I think about playing volleyball—I think everyone that played JV volleyball last year thinks differently about playing too. For one thing, whenever the coach tells me to go get on the court to play, I can hear members of my team cheer my on the whole time I play, and when I go to sit back down on the bench, everyone high-fives me and tells me something like, “Good job!” or “Nice serves!” or something like that and it makes me feel good about how I played and it feels nice to know I have a team who loves and supports me whether we win or lose. And I hope my team knows that I feel the exact same way about them!

So in the end, it doesn’t matter if we won or lost or even if I didn’t play at all—in the end we are still a team. One big team that is proud of everyone, including themselves. And we can’t feel sorry for ourselves or get mad at ourselves because we messed up on a serve or we didn’t make a spike over, because at the end of the day, none of that matters. What matters is that we did our best and we should be proud of ourselves for giving it our best and even if one of us didn’t play at all, we should be proud that we cheered on our team and encouraged them. And thank God for being there with us always-whether we win or lose.