Throughout these past few weeks as I have watched my Spencer Vs. record slowly slip to 0-3, my confidence in my athletic ability has flat-lined to the point where I am unsure if it can be resuscitated. It dawned on me that what I was missing was a winner’s mentality. All the great athletes throughout history have been blessed with this sense of extreme confidence, this inability to lose, this winner’s mentality. I had to have it if I wanted to remain competitive whatsoever in my next Spencer Vs. conquest. However, after discovering that Dunham’s Sporting Goods does not carry winner’s mentality, I bought a bag of Doritos instead and began preparing for my next match up.
My most recent challenge brought me back to the hardwood floors of Anderson Athletic Center as I squared off against Kalamazoo College sophomore volleyball player and power-hitter Paige Johnson. Paige has been a critical player and starter for the Hornets from the minute she entered the program in the 2013 season. She is an incredibly versatile player as she has played outside hitter, middle, and even setter for Kalamazoo. In 2014, she led the team in blocks (57) despite only being listed at five feet nine inches, and she boasts one of the most volatile and powerful spikes in the MIAA. Even with this impressive resume, I was not as concerned as I probably should have been. Every time the Olympics come around I never miss watching a volleyball match, so I think it is safe to say that I am somewhat of an expert on the game.
As it would be rather difficult to play one-on-one volleyball, Paige and I recruited the help of her fellow Hornet volleyball players, setter Camille Giacobone ‘18 and outside hitter Kaela Van Til ‘17, to set up a hitting drill. Paige would hit ten balls at me and I would then hit ten at her to see who would emerge with the better percentage of digs. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t me.
Paige struck the ball with such ferocity that I was lucky to even come near the ball. The one hit out of ten that I was able to dive and get an arm on left a bruise where the ball made contact and the feeling of being shot in the kneecaps from hitting the floor. Paige seemed to be enjoying hitting at me, however, as her spikes kept increasing in speed and coming dangerously close to my face.
When it was my turn to hit, I thought I might be able to surprise Paige by putting a little extra power on my shots. On my first hit that floated lazily over the net, Paige had enough time to camp under it, pitch a tent, cook up some hot dogs, and take a quick nap before she returned it. Although I challenged her a little more after that, she was still able to dig eight of the ten balls I sent her way, trumping my feeble ten percent. At this point, I really can’t say that I am surprised by another defeat but I figure that it really can’t get any worse. They say that every loss and every setback makes you stronger, so going by that logic, I should be pretty damn strong.