Words & Sports

Patience Learned at a Girls Volleyball Practice in Charlotte

Volleyballs are bouncing everywhere. Girls are laughing. And here I am thinking to myself, through all the chaos of volleyballs and loud noises, about fun and patience.

I preach both fun and patience often on this blog, to those in my office, and to myself. Yes, I tell myself things. It’s either that or let the voices of doubt creep in, and we can’t have that.

This is only my daughter’s fifth volleyball practice. She decided, just before school started, to take up this new activity, and right away I volunteered to be the one to take her to these practices. Besides getting time alone with my daughter, I knew I’d enjoy watching her play. And when I wasn’t watching, I’d have a chance to catch up on reading and podcasts. And, apparently, write. The middle of volleyball practice is not, I find, the best place for literary composition, but when an idea comes to me, I’ve got to write it down. This is only a draft. My editor and I will take care of any errors later (the piece you are reading now is edited!).

These girls are sure enjoying their practice. They are learning the game and becoming a team, and while they make lots of mistakes, it’s all good because they all giggle. And I mean all! Multiple practice games are in progress simultaneously in this enormous gym. I see a girl I don’t know whiff on a shot. The ball bounces off her shoulder, hits the ground, and rolls away. She laughs. Her friends laugh. I look back to my daughter’s team practice, and what do you know—a rally! Four hits in a row!! Improvement! Excitement! Then the ball crashes to the ground beside a girl who is clearly thinking “am I supposed to hit that?” They are five weeks into a journey of learning to play volleyball. And it has me thinking….

In business, so many are looking for that immediate return on investment. They put in some time or money, but they want to get value out of it immediately. Anything less is a failed attempt. I see this impatience with business owners that try marketing their business using some form of content marketing. Some business owners, if they write a few articles and post a few times on Facebook and don’t see anything from it, they want to cut bait and move on. Some wait a bit longer, but same thing. They are ready to give up because it didn’t happen fast enough.

Isn’t this a journey? Are immediate wins always required? Why can’t we put in the effort over time and not look to game the system for a short-term benefit? Patience is the word I want. Even if you never get the return you were looking for, there are other ways your investment can pay off. Did you learn something new you can apply elsewhere? Did you meet new people? Did you have fun? What is there to complain about?

My daughter may choose to continue with volleyball. Maybe she’ll end up getting really good. Maybe she’ll go to college on a volleyball scholarship (don’t worry, that’s not the goal here!), who knows? But she might also decide to quit and apply what she has learned to dancing or kickball. Or maybe she’ll stick with volleyball, but only as a casual hobby. And that’s ok. She’s having fun. She’s getting more physically fit, and she might make a new friend. I’m ok with that. As her father, I am more than ok with that.

Imagine what good you can create by giving your time to something. You may eventually earn a financial reward, many people do, though it’s not a sure thing. But I can promise you some form of return on your investment, if only you are willing to enjoy the journey.


Quick shoutout to Carolina Courts in Charlotte, NC (Indian Trail) for the amazing facility and incredible coaches they have for both volleyball and basketball.