Tuesday, September 1, 2015, was a day to remember for all varsity volleyball athletes and fans in the local Cedar Rapids area. On this day, Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School would be hosting Linn-Mar High School in possibly the biggest volleyball match of the year. For the Kennedy Volleyball program, this game would be a sense of clarity and prove who the better team is. However, for the Linn-Mar Volleyball program, this game was a rematch from last year’s game that left them empty-handed and ready for revenge. Being a Kennedy Volleyball player myself, I could relate to all of the Kennedy volleyball varsity athletes and their emotions towards the Linn-Mar volleyball team. Last year, when Linn-Mar hosted the volleyball match against Kennedy, Kennedy made a remarkable comeback; being down two sets to none, and winning three sets to two. Fortunately, last year I was given the opportunity to be on the bench during this incredible game and I got to experience a rush of emotions that continued until the rematch game on September 1, 2015. This year, I was able to experience all the same things while being in the presence of my own classmates in the student section.
When the game began, you could feel the intensity between both schools. As the gym’s speakers blared music, both teams proceeded to do their usual team warm-up and both student sections got amped up for the game to begin. Sitting in the third row, I had a perfect view of my teammates and fellow classmates on the court and I could see the determination and focus in every move they made. The game officially began once the National Anthem was played and the starting athletes on each team were announced. In a normal varsity match, the teams play the best of five sets, meaning in order to win the entire game, one team must win at least three individual sets. The first whistle blew, and immediately the first serve was made. Each team had their share of successful plays, but Linn-Mar just seemed to outplay our Kennedy girls to take the first set win of the night. Once the first set was over, I felt very uneasy about things. It seemed to me, that the Kennedy athletes could not figure out a way to get around Linn-Mar, and I was incredibly nervous for the outcome of the game.
The second set of the game began and before I knew it both student sections were roaring and sending echoes throughout the Kennedy High School gym. The energy of the Kennedy student section seemed to help the volleyball team because just after the first few points, they came across as a whole new team. They were incredibly talkative, energetic, and very quick with their movements. Seeing this in a new perspective was very reassuring, knowing that the girls actually had a shot at turning this game around. And needless to say more, they won set two, continued to win set three, and then finally won set four. As the Kennedy Volleyball team and student section cheered and ran onto the court to celebrate, the Linn-Mar fans and athletes were quick to evacuate because yet another year in a row, they lost to Kennedy.
After watching this game, I learned a lot about adversity and intensity and how important it is to be focused and incredibly determined in order to overcome stressful situations and be successful.