Lonesome Skye starts off at the beginning of school during volleyball season. I’m definitely not a sports writer (been there, done that, not going back) but this story called to me. See, I write about people in rural America, and most people in small towns bleed athletics. (Also, there’s not a lot else to do.)
Volleyball, to me, signified many different things. I loved the challenge the sport brought, the physical exertion, the camaraderie I felt with people I might not have otherwise spent time with, the awesome feeling of winning and the extra determination after losing. Volleyball signaled a new school year, new possibilities, new ways to succeed. I breathed volleyball in high school.
Weights, in some ways, meant even more than volleyball. It was one of the few sports where I could succeed or fail completely on my own. And it was simple. I either lifted the weight or I didn’t. I could tell, day by day, where I grew and where I stagnated.
Now, as an adult, I don’t get to play or lift as often. There was a fun stint of pickup sand volleyball games in college, and even a consistently short-handed intramural team. And I never left those games feeling upset I’d been able to play. Writing about it for people who might not play the sport, well, that was fun.
If you don’t play volleyball, you might not know what an “ace” is or what “foot fault” means. But, I’m betting you understand the pressure of being back on a metaphorical serving line by yourself while everyone waits to see if you’ll succeed or fail. You probably get how awesome it is to have your crush on the sidelines, cheering you on. And whenever some jerk comes up and tries to steal your hypothetical ball, you probably want to grit your teeth and tell them a thing or two about teamwork. If you don’t lift weights, you probably get how cool it is to feel invincible, strong.
There is so much universality that comes with athletics, and I’m hoping that translates in Lonesome Skye.
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