The whistle blows and the stadium feels deathly silent. All that I feel is the pounding in my chest signaling that I am still alive; I raise my arm and the words "elbow up" repeat like a mantra in my head as I swing at the ball that begins the first point of my last State Volleyball Tournament.
My mind races back through the past four years remembering the feeling of losing the first game every year. The defeat, the sweat, and the tears from the seniors is fresh in my mind. I want to change that tradition of losing, raise the bar to be something better, and not be the underdogs the newspapers seem to think we are every single year. I am determined to play this year for beating tradition and raising the bar.
Every point seems to fly by. We win the first set and then lose by two in the second and continue our downfall in the third and fourth. I step off the court and expect to feel the emotions of defeat course through me, but rather I am elated. I played one of my best games the entire season and I didn't do it for myself. I played for my team and the other four seniors that I will never play with again.
My senior year taught me that defeat doesn't tear you apart when you played for the right reasons, to the best of your abilities. Defeat makes you stronger. It pushes you to play your best every time in hopes that you never feel defeat in yourself. Defeat is something more than another team beating you, it is you beating yourself.
When the tears finally came, it wasn't because of defeat. It was because I was losing the best team I had every played with and my support system that I had every day to fall onto.