Why do I Play?

I’ve been playing club volleyball for nine years, but have no intention of playing college ball.


Emma Fairchild

Emma Fairchild goes in for the kill

I started playing volleyball when I was nine years old and from that point on it has stuck. Quitting softball, basketball, and soccer, I told my parents that volleyball was now my sport. Just the next year, I found myself signing up to play volleyball with High Performance St. Louis. This was one of the top two volleyball clubs in Missouri. HPSTL was going to prepare me in becoming the most competitive and skilled player that I could be, it would prepare me for the next level; college volleyball. 


Clearly, when I was younger, I dreamed of playing for one of the best Big10 schools. Then continuing my volleyball career at the national level. As time went on, playing at the collegiate level was not something I saw in my future. The biggest year for recruitment is your 16’s year. The stress of creating videos, emailing coaches, doing school research, was daunting to me. My coaches reaching out to colleges for me or telling me about camp invites sparked little excitement in me. 


So why would I spend countless hours and amounts of money playing a sport I have no interest in playing at the collegiate level? Because I love it. 

I say that, but then I rethink to myself, “do I love it?” The honest answer is that I am not sure why I continue to play. Do the laughs outweigh the tears? Or do the constant nagging pains outweigh the freedom of no more workouts and practices?


The “freedom of no workouts and practices” does not come with teammates, coaches I’ve known since I was 10, or the competition of volleyball. Whether practice is three hours or one hour, being surrounded by my teammates makes me happier than any other moment. There is no bond like the bond created by sports. Being able to be serious and compete on the court, but best friends off the court is an unbeatable feeling.


Not only do dinners with my teammates make the best memories, but being able to work as hard as I can in every game is a tremendously rewarding feeling. There is nothing better than a long, back-and-forth rally, then ending it with a kill down the line. As a hitter, I spend my time repeating, “left… right, left” over and over again to gain points for my team. I do my blocking footwork on repeat to be the best I can be.

So… why do I continue to play this sport regardless of my own personal contemplation? The good times will always outweigh the bad. The medals wrapped around my neck, trophies placed in my hands, and awards I have won are some of the best memories I have from high school. The teammates I have met through school and club volleyball are friends I will have for the rest of my life.