In The Hunger Games, from what I understood of the movie, each team fights for their lives in an all out battle against opponents from different districts and only when all opponents are destroyed do they stop and declare a winner. In a way, this is what Men’s PowderTuff Volleyball is like. Each grade is like its own district. I, unanimously, would be voted the Josh Hutcherson of the group just from the clear resemblance between our looks, success, strength, talent, jaws, bodies etc. (These are not my words, but the words of the people.) In the end, the volleyball tournament is just an all-out display of talent, hard-work, perseverance, experience, and height.
So my team came into the tournament as the self-proclaimed number one seed and favorites to win the tournament, with this cockiness and chip on our shoulder that had no reason to be there. I had just recently watched the last scene of Air Bud: Spikes Back, the classic film that got robbed of an Academy Award. The movie is based off a dog who, instead of doing normal dog things, somehow teaches himself to play volleyball and finds a way to make humans let him play in real games. This last scene gave me my dose of tears and passion for the day and I felt ready to play some volleyball.
My team did not disappoint at first. We went a beautiful 3-0 through the first three games, however, when the Semi-Finals rolled around, it was clear that Los Fuegos Corazones, who were the other junior team we were playing against, had ice in their veins. Our team, being huge advocates of great sportsmanship, decided to lose “on purpose” to Los Fuegos in the Semis because, all of us being really compassionate guys, we figured they could use this win more than we could (at least this is what we tell people to avoid embarrassment).
Whether it was Patrick Leon’s smooth hands, Hugo Ramirez-Pineda’s pants, or Nathan Faust’s resemblance to famous rapper, Drake, something clicked for Los Fuegos Corazones, who went on to take the whole tournament by storm. They even ended up beating the senior team by a healthy margin in the Finals despite the senior team’s strategical placement of their headbands and their risky muscle tees.
For some people, Powdertuff Volleyball is a game, and for others like myself, it is a lifestyle. Just like the Hunger Games, there will be a sequel to this tournament. As far as I’m concerned, we all have approximately the next 350 days to train and prepare for next year’s games. So if you’re looking for me before then, I will probably be watching film of this year’s games, shirtless in the weight room pretending to lift more weight than I can, or jogging on the track in borderline short-shorts. How bad do you want success?