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Ripple Effect

We made a trip to Pennsylvania during the President's Day weekend. This time, it was to watch, support, and cheer for my volleyball-playing son. I was super excited because this was the first out-of-state tournament I could attend in a long time. My other two kids had a light schedule, and my sister and her family were available to hang out with them at home. And knowing that there were only a handful more of these tournaments left before my son graduates to the collegiate level, I knew I wanted to go.

As much as I'm grateful to the mom who streams the games live for us, there's nothing like actually being at the gym with the hundreds of other spectators. The camera only captures one direction of the court, whereas being there allows you to see everything.

One aspect I noticed that I usually don't see on the live stream is how the players interact with one another. I love to watch how the athletes encourage each other. Whether you're on the court playing or sitting on the bench, you can see how the team supports every player. And regardless of whether it was a successful play or not, the athletes are still high-fiving you and reassuring you got the next one. The attitude and behavior exemplify noteworthy sportsmanship.

I also love to observe how they are with other teams. So during one of the breaks before the next game, I caught my son chatting and eating his snacks with players from teams he would play against. They were laughing and smiling and appeared to have a good time. It was impressive to see how they could quickly go from friends to rivals on and off the court. It didn't happen just once or twice but throughout the tournament. They heckled each other before the games started, played fiercely like they were enemies during the games, and then back to being friends again after the games. To me, this goes above sportsmanship; this is more character.

More than the medals around their necks, I hope these athletes can be proud of the examples they are leaving for all to witness. May it lead to a ripple effect beyond sports and into everyday life.

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