Feb. 28, 2013
Ask any former Rambler who was ever on the volleyball squad, and he'll probably have a long sob story about his trip to St. John Arena. "We were up two sets to one," he might say. "Then the nerves just got to us."
I cannot seem to remember a Loyola team ever beating the Buckeyes at their home court. Ohio State has always been one of our toughest rivals. I remember the heartbreak of losing to them in the MIVA finals when I was a freshman.
I can tell you first-hand that the locker room is not a fun place to be in after a loss to OSU. The air is salty and moist. Heads are down, as everyone piles into that room. The coaches give us a few moments to gather ourselves, but it feels like hours. We just sit. Occasionally someone coughs or tries to untie their shoe, but no one dares to look each other in the eye. You rewind the last play of the game, the one that should have made the difference. Your eyes shift to the player next to you. Maybe if he would have made that play, we would still be out there, you think. Maybe if he hadn't made all those errors, we would have won. You feel knives in your stomach. Toys in the attic, you are out of your mind. How could this have happened? You are so frustrated, you just want to stand up and scream at everyone. But you just sit.
This is something that every athlete has experienced. It is a feeling of uncertainty. You wonder where you stand as an athlete, as a team. It is a feeling of regret. If only you had prepared more, worked just a little harder, the outcome could have been different. It is a feeling of anger towards teammates. After all, you didn't make the game losing play, but you didn't make the game winning play either.
These are common emotions that are all part of the athlete experience. Some days you feel better, while others you feel a pit in your stomach. However, it doesn't matter what you feel. All that really matters is knowing that deep down you are a team. All else is forgotten the second you decide to throw your hand in the center of the huddle and cheer "Ramblers!" loud and with passion.
There are other feelings too.
Some of which I have yet to experience.
They could be good.
I don't know.
I bet it feels great,
to beat the Buckeyes on their home floor.