What comes next

A Bethel volleyball player shares what it feels like to lose and keep going. 

By Macie Gavic

The ball pounded the floor with a slap as the line judge pointed a red flag at the hardwood. Another kill for Augsburg brought the score to 11-14. The crowd fell silent as Augsburg No. 4 served the ball. It soared left toward the corner, but a pass by Bethel’s Allie Fauth kept the rally alive. Thirty seconds of weaponized swings and digs ensued until Augsburg threw up a wall of hands for the block. The ball rolled down the quivering net and landed with a thud. 

Another loss for the books.

We stood in a circle in the corner of the Robertson Center gym and thanked God through choked sobs for the opportunity to play. Players filed into a silent locker room that was disturbed only by splashes of shower water, rips of ankle-brace Velcro and the unlacing of court shoes. Then, someone cracked a joke about a bruise on her hip. Three girls laughed.

“What are you doing tonight?” one of the girls asked. “Wanna grab Pancheros?”

That’s all the time we got to be upset. 

The next day, coach Gretchen Hunt sent the team an email titled “No Bad Days!” 

“‘No bad days’ doesn’t mean nothing matters, that we don’t care about anything,” Hunt wrote. “It means everything can matter, if you look for what you were supposed to get from the experience.” 

Three days later, I left class early to watch film of the Concordia College volleyball team for 15 minutes. Then, I sent in my Noodles & Company order that I would eat on the three-hour bus ride the next day and dressed for practice. 

The next morning at 10 a.m., my backpack overflowed with a laptop charger, knee-pads and my favorite pink pineapple towel. I loaded the bus for the three-hour ride to Moorhead, Minnesota. And it was full of laughter.

That’s the magic of playing with these girls. 

After a loss, we can laugh about someone tripping over her shoelaces or shanking the twenty-fifth point serve. The next day, we learn to have our laces tied up all the tighter. And we focus on what comes next.


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