I had a weird experience you might expect during recess in elementary school, but this was not in school. It was on a volleyball court in Florida.
For being in the Sunshine State, so far my experience with pick-up volleyball has paled in comparison with where I lived up until a few months ago— Nashville, Tennessee. There, there were only 2 sand courts in Centennial Park but the nights I went to play were crowded, sometimes almost too crowded, with people wanting to play. On top of that, they were nice people!
My last experience at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee, Florida was mostly the opposite. This park has 5 sand courts so you’d think a lot of people are interested in playing, right? Well, not only is that not the case, the few times I went there mostly were 2v2 games and that’s the way people preferred it! I half-expected to see Kerri Walsh-Jennings out there with how serious some of these players seemed to be.
The drama. This particular visit featured most of the courts with 2v2, no surprise. But one had an odd number, seven people. I waited patiently for them to finish their game and when they came off the court I asked if they were playing pick-up. In other words, a courteous way of asking, “Can I play?” One woman spoke up, responding, “We’re kind of maxed out.”
As they went back to the court for their next game, another guy showed up and jumped right in before the first serve. I don’t get embarrassed much but I sat there with my dogs, embarrassed. A few minutes later I left and haven’t been back since. I’m taking my talents elsewhere!
But I’m also hoping that in the spring there will be crowds of nice people who want to play and don’t exclude anyone else who wants to play.
Have you had an experience like this? Did it make you feel angry, embarrassed, or both?
-Out of the Wilderness