Bittersweet Endings

Bittersweet+Endings

Rachel Dickerson, Reporter

As children, we cannot wait until high school. We want to grow up as soon as possible, thinking the process will be long and unending. But now, as a senior, I am just now realizing how fast it went. It feels like yesterday that I was walking onto the volleyball court for the first time, intimidated by all the upperclassmen who were much more sure of themselves than I was.

I have always loved playing volleyball. I’ve played for eight years, and half of that was dedicated to Wakeland Volleyball. 

During my freshman year, our season changed drastically. We found out that Coach Watson was retiring and Coach Womble was coming from Liberty High School for the next year. The COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short, and there was no real transition period for us in between coaches.  

The next season, we came back and had to wear masks and had several setbacks due to the consistent absence of players being quarantined. We were still getting used to playing next to each other, and playing for a different coach under nearly unthinkable circumstances. We barely made playoffs that year and were knocked out just as quickly. 

During the third year, things began to settle. We were used to playing for Coach Womble and around each other, but our class was still young and made up the majority of the team. We worked every day and tried to be better than last year, to prove to ourselves that we could go far in the playoffs. We made it to the fourth round and lost to Lovejoy High School. In the entire history of the Wakeland Volleyball program, we had never beaten Lovejoy. Despite how much we may have wanted it junior year, we still fell short. 

With a disappointing end to my junior year, we came together as a team that with the district changes, we would win state. We would be the first Frisco school to go to state for volleyball and win it all. 

I think that this past season, we all grew closer than ever. We were unified in our goal and were excited to keep playing. We completed the district season undefeated and became district champions. 

Going into the playoff season, we were ecstatic with nerves and excitement going forward. We worked hard every practice, going over every small detail to figure out how to become better than we already were. The team frequently met up together to watch game footage of ourselves and other teams, ensuring that we were prepared and ready for the competition. 

Once again, we made it to the fourth round to face off against Lovejoy. We were nervous, though we would never have admitted it then. But when we walked into that stadium, there was a sort of calmness in the air that we carried with us. We won that game in three straight sets, never giving Lovejoy an inch to use against us. 

We were beyond thrilled. The giant standing in front of us had finally been defeated and we were convinced that state was just around the corner waiting for us. 

The next day, we played Reedy High School in the regional finals. We had played Reedy twice before that same season and beaten them both times. Looking back at it we were overconfident walking into it, thinking we would walk away victorious once again. 

Sometimes you start a game feeling great, and then about ten points in you already know what the outcome will be no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. I watched my team battle it out on the court, and still, it wasn’t enough to steal even one single set. I wanted so badly to believe that we would win, but deep down I think I knew that was our last game as a team. 

We lost and as soon as the scoreboard hit 26 for Reedy, they raced together cheering while we slowly realized that we were truly done. Tears were shed and we got on the bus and rode back to Wakeland. 

Out of all the different teams that I had played on at Wakeland, this past year has been my favorite. From the very beginning, we were motivated and ready to work. The competition was always high and the environment was incredibly fun to be a part of. We would always try to have as much fun as possible, even if the game, drill, or workout wasn’t. 

Now that it had ended I am almost mournful, but also content and deeply satisfied with what we have done as a senior class in our four years at Wakeland. Would I be happier having been to state? Absolutely.  

But that chapter has ended, and I am happy to look back at the memories we made and smile. Am I still proud of the time, work, and effort we put in for months? Definitely.