Indoor Sports

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We’ve been an AYSO soccer family for wow, over eight years now. All three of my girls have played almost every season since they were old enough at age four (Abbi took a couple of seasons off but went back to it several years ago). And other than a Abbi’s brief stint at softball, we really haven’t played any other sports. Especially any indoor ones.

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This winter, I signed Hannah up for volleyball. For a couple of reasons – first, she was interested and wanted to try playing. Plus, with her knee issues, I feel that it’s a good idea to keep her active and moving on that leg. Last summer she finished physical therapy in good shape and then went almost straight into the fall soccer season. Having her be fairly inactive over much of the winter had worried me, since she’s got both spring soccer and Girls on the Run coming up soon – I think it’s important for her to keep those leg muscles moving as much as possible.

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We’re discovering that indoor sports have a few differences from the outdoor ones we’d always done before. Some good, and some – well, challenging ones.

First, it’s much nicer to sit through practices and games when the climate isn’t a factor. I had to laugh last Saturday when Abbi announced she was going to wait in the van through Hannah’s volleyball games (she had to come with us since we were going straight to another activity afterward). Really? Wait in the van, in sub-freezing temperatures? Come to find out, she had just assumed Hannah’s games were outdoors, since that’s what we’re so used to. It’s definitely much more comfortable to sit and watch in a gym.

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Taking pictures of volleyball is much more challenging though. I don’t own a DSLR and my ‘fancy’ point-and-shoot has never taken good indoor shots. I use it expressly as an outdoor-only camera, in fact. For indoor shots, I usually rely on my iPhone, but even that doesn’t do well for action shots, especially indoors in lower light. I love taking many (many) pictures at every soccer game, so am finding myself slightly frustrated that I have no way to take good volleyball shots.

The volleyball coaches have asked the girls not to wear their gym shoes directly to practices and games, but to wear boots or other shoes, then change just outside the gym – this is to keep from tracking snow onto the courts and creating puddles that could cause players to slip and fall. Hannah forgot to grab her gym shoes when dropped off for practice last night, so I had to make an extra trip out to deliver them to her.

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Notwithstanding all of that, Hannah is having a blast with volleyball. She’s got a couple of friends on her team, and everyone’s at pretty much the same general skill level. Which is to say that these are beginning players, so anyone hitting a ball over the net is basically a win. I love how supportive the girls are of each other – they high-five and cheer the player serving, whether the ball goes over the net or not (usually not). And as each player rotates off the court, she high-fives each of the other players standing off-court, waiting to rotate in.

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The games are shorter than in soccer – so they play multiple games against different teams every week. When not actively playing, Hannah’s helped out by acting as line judge or keeping score for other teams’ games. It’s a really good introduction to the game, the rules and how to play. At last night’s practice, the coach had some of the varsity players who help with practice demonstrate what varsity-level playing looks like, as a way to motivate the kids and show them what they’re working toward. It was really exciting to watch and I think we’ll try to get to some middle and high school games next fall.

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I don’t know if we’ll try any other indoor sports out – none of the girls have ever expressed any interest in basketball or any type of martial arts. I know they’d like to try swimming, gymnastics and dance, but the financial and time requirements of any of those are pretty much beyond us at this point. My dad keeps asking when we’re going to put them in a bowling league (something I grew up doing since my dad is a huge bowler and always has been), but those get really pricey too, especially with three kids.

For now at least, we’ll stick with volleyball. And soccer. Although at this rate, they may be playing soccer in the snow this spring – it’s snowing yet again as I write this and our temperatures aren’t going anywhere near high enough to thaw out the snow and ice we’re still buried in anytime soon.

Hmm, the whole indoor thing is sounding better and better. 😉