The Net Product – Week of Nov. 18
It is Sunday afternoon and here I sit writing my last Net Product, which officially signifies that the 2015 volleyball season is over. It was an incredible and memorable season for Knights Volleyball. The Silver and Black finished with a 35-18 record and advanced to the Final Four, before losing to the eventual state champions. But now what? No volleyball! Well, with that comes several final thoughts and the routines that you can count on.
One has already taken place when the Mrs. asked, “Are you wearing that sweat shirt again?” This in reference to me wearing my state tournament sweatshirt. The answer was a resounding “Yes, ma’am!” And I will wear it frequently as it is not just a large piece of cloth. It is something that reminds me of how much work goes into 14 ladies advancing to a state tournament. The sweatshirt gives me warmth and comfort, and serves as a reminder of how proud these ladies made us and how so many across our wonderful state admire them for what they stand for.
The sweat shirt has strings around the neck; my 7-month old grandson loves to play with those strings and did so at the state tournament. A lasting memory. This new and soft sweatshirt also has a hoodie on it. After our team lost in the semi-final match, my granddaughter pulled the hood up and said she wanted me to be the big bad wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. Amazing how that comforted our loss.
Soon the sweatshirt will be stained and Mrs. Summers will beg to wash it. Fine! But do not shrink it. This will be repeated many times as it ages. And as it ages, I will treasure it even more as it will remind me of Ariel Fish and Hannah Castell who did the impossible, which was to lead a very youthful team to Charleston. They were first to practice, helped teach skills, taught them the Knights traditions, such as “If you are early, you are on time, if you are on time you are late, and if you are late” well, who knows? It never happened. Ten years from now this cotton fabric will be remembered as their senior year.
As you know, during this year’s state tournament a horrific event took place in Paris. More often than not, my snuggly hoodie will remind me of not only many other things, but also of that event. I will think to myself that during a time of pure evil I was in a huge coliseum surrounded by a lot of young people who represent what our future might be. And let me just say the future of our country looks to be astounding. Lots of kind kids who are full of love, cherish their parents and have so many good morals and values.
Tracy and I have trips planned to Hawaii to visit our son and to Disney World to see Ariel (the Disney mermaid, not Ariel Fish, our middle hitter) with our daughter and her family. And yes, the hoodie will make both trips, as I’m always cold. I’m sure that someone will notice the West Virginia state outline on the logo and will comment on it. My reply will be, “Yes, we are from West Virginia and we coach Tyler Consolidated Volleyball.” Something good will be said from the fellow Mountaineer. You can count on it.
At some point the ole XL sweatshirt will get a stain or two that won’t come out (even when the Mrs. tries to “Shout” it out) and that is fine. Those stains will remind me of the adversity this team overcame. For instance, Hannah Casteel had to play through some health issues that involved many hours in doctors’ offices so she could help the girls she loves very much make it t to the state tournament. Nothing good comes easy and many of our girls overcame****. Bring on the ketchup stain, it will be just fine.
Sectional champions! Regional Champions! Nice, and congrats, girls. But to be honored by the Ohio Valley Officials Board with their Sportsmanship Award is special. And to follow that up with the Sportsmanship Award at the State Tournament is just as meaningful. Officials noticed that there was no gesturing, arguing, eye rolling, foot stomping, or anything else. Just great kids making their parents and community proud.
When you see these young ladies wearing a grey sweatshirt (or T-Shirt) with purple and orange writing surrounding a big volleyball with the shape of West Virginia inside it, take a moment to thank them for a job well done. They deserve it. And if you outlast me and feel obligated to pay a visit to the funeral home, you will now know why I am wearing this hoodie rather than a suit and tie. Or if you forget and ask Tracy, the answer will be simple: “It represents his girls and many years of great memories.” Take care and hopefully I’ll be back with all of you in August. Thanks for reading this and following our girls.