SINGKIT - Doreen G. Yu - The Philippine Star

Being next door neighbor to The STAR’s Sports section I get to share in whatever it is they’re watching on television. Not surprising, it’s usually basketball – PBA, NCAA, UAAP, NBA – but lately it’s also volleyball, as the Philippine Volleyball League goes into the finals.

Volleyball – particularly women’s volleyball – has greatly increased in popularity over the last few years, as the level and quality of play have also greatly improved. Men’s volleyball hasn’t kept up with the pace of women’s volleyball, perhaps since the men have been so focused on basketball. Or perhaps volleyball has generally been regarded as a girls’/women’s sport; why, I have no idea.

My niece, who is now a professional golf instructor, played varsity volleyball in the days when the sport was just getting popular. She tore her ACL in the process, which – thankfully, for her mother and me – nipped in the bud whatever plans she had of continuing with the sport. (Golf is a much more benign and less hazardous sport.) The team members were quite serious about the sport, putting in hours of training and conditioning and strategizing.

All that was a far cry from when I played – sort of – volleyball in high school many many moons ago, when it was part of PE (Physical Education), and each year level had a team. It was “cool” to be part of the team, and since most of my friends were on the team, I joined as well (there were no try-outs; whoever wanted to join just signed up and you’re in as long as you paid for your uniform). Our class had a really good spiker, who was taller and stronger than anyone else; one of her spikes actually went through the net and made a big hole! So we were the team to beat ever since sophomore year.

Fortunately – for the team and for me – I was listed way down the roster and did not get any actual time on the court during the tournaments. For PE class though I had to participate or risk a failing grade. But I managed to see to it that I spent as little time as I possibly could in play, and our coach was only too happy to get me back on the bench since, every time the ball came anywhere near me, I’d manage to get out of the way. While others would shout “Mine!” to indicate they’d take the shot, my cry was “Yours!” so someone else would take it. You couldn’t accuse me of hogging the action, that’s for sure.

But now, I watch the PVL finals with great interest (Creamline clinched the championship last night), admiring how good all the players are, happy that it’s all yours!



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