Story by Matthew Tsai
Illustration by Alicia Zhang
Everyone has recently lept onto the girls volleyball bandwagon, but I’ll confess: as a basketball player, I’ve always hated volleyball. The girls hoard the gym in the fall, pushing my team into the sweltering heat for conditioning and exhausting city runs. Then, once we enter basketball season, the boys are always creeping around the corner and stealing our time in the gym.
Naturally, when my coach told the team that we needed to attend the home girls volleyball games, I was annoyed. I usually keep my eyes trained on my phone, but its battery would inevitably perish and I’d have no choice but to watch.
The first few games were painful. However, I slowly developed a strange sense of pride as I witnessed the Tigers toy with rival teams. I’d clap, cheer, and scream in the stands just as I would during one of my basketball games.
I realized that sports are more than just a game. Sports create beautiful, unspoken bonds. Looking around, I saw a diverse spread of people cheering with me: the crazy parents that get too angry too quickly, the random underclassmen I never knew existed, and the rowdy upperclassmen who lead the student section chants. At that moment, I saw a crowd that would never assemble under ordinary circumstances.
But sports are something special. They create a common ground for our school and community to rally behind. They are an opportunity for everyone to work beyond their biases or opinions and join together as one team.
Sports act as an amazing unifier, and in today’s chaotic, divided society, that is extremely valuable.