I was ten years old when I started playing volleyball. I tell everyone my mother “forced” me to play. She wanted me to do something out of my comfort zone (sports). I always thought I was going to be a theater star. No part of me wanted to be an athlete. I was too awkward for ballet, too tall for gymnastics, and too…well I wasn't a basketball player to say the least.
I walked into the local YMCA for tryouts. I didn't know anyone there. I didn't know the first thing about volleyball, and I was already a timid person (and I wanted to be an actress… funny). After the first ten minutes of tryouts and jumping right into the basics, I was in love.
It came time for tryouts for my middle school team, and I was a nervous wreck. Funny how some things don’t change. Middle school was around the time I “shot up like a weed” so naturally, I was a middle hitter. But get this— I am left handed. So things weren’t very easy for me and my setter at the time. As time passed I became less awkward, and my high school coach moved me to the right side, where I thrived.
I was 15 playing for a 17 National team in Pickens, SC, and I was playing for a great coach who loved the game more than I thought possible. To this day, she is the reason I still love this game, because she pushed me as far as 15 year old me could go, and she got me ready for the following years. The following year, I moved clubs. It was the best decision for my volleyball career. I played for Corey Helle on the 18-1 team, and met some of my best friends.
The family feel and the amazing coaching staff brought me back this year, and I have so much faith in this team this year. I can tell you as of now we are the best team in the SAVL (Southeast Alliance Volleyball League), and I cannot wait to see and be a part of the rest of this season.
Look for regular updates from Kelly throughout the upcoming season on upward.org!