I have never been a volleyball fan. Ever.
Not in high school. Not in college.
My volleyball players would always come to the first couple of days of basketball under conditioned and complain about the running (cross country runners and swimmers don’t do that).
My taller volleyball players, girls I’d seen get up and punish a volleyball on spikes, complained about jumping.
I’ve never been a volleyball fan. Ever.
Sure, I’d watch volleyball if it were on for the Olympics because these are world-class athletes playing for their country. But to turn on a game on TV, nope.
I didn’t like volleyball until reading the book, The Miracle Season by Kathy Bresnahan. This is a true story of a student from Iowa City West High School, Caroline “Line” Found, a student who was the heart and soul of the 2011 Iowa State Championship team from West. This was a girl who not only was a good athlete, but a good person as well. And on August 11, 2011, she was killed in a moped accident.
This book takes us from Line’s growth as a setting for the West team to that fateful night to the days, weeks and months later as “Coach Brez” tried to manage a team without a leader and help them through a time that no team, no coach could possibly imagine. Coach Brez writes in a very conversational style and we truly get that feel of what they were going through from the funeral of Line to the death and funeral of Line’s mother, Ellyn (pancreatic Cancer), a mere ten days later. The incredible peaks and valleys of this team and coach left me in tears several times. And that’s what happens when anyone who’s made an impact on their community is lost suddenly, the emotions that overflow into every facet of your life.
However, we are given some solace in the pages of this book as well. Some of the chapters are titled “Live Like Like” then a word that described her. Line lived life with
- Outrageous Humor
Finally, the last chapter asked us to “Live Like Line – Rise to the Occasion”. I won’t spoil that for you, should you choose to read the book
In each of these chapters, these words are used to describe experiences for Coach Bez or the team. Experiences ranging from:
- another team bringing wrist bands that read
‘Live Line Line in contrasting white, surrounded by two volleyballs and simple crucifix.
- Coach Bez went after a player trying to loosen up the team on a trip to Cedar Falls (“Where’s my best friend??”)
- Finding pennies in groups of three.
- Changing a Theme Day from Western to “Dress-Like-Brez Day”
And it goes on and on the different ways that Coach and her young women took the lessons of Line to heart.
Me? This was a powerful, emotional read. Like I said, I was in tears many times during this book because I could picture former players who were like Line, who lived life out loud, who didn’t shy away from being the positive leader and influence you want on your team. They saw what they did as larger than themselves, mentoring younger players and helping them to see how to lead in a positive light. I pictured my father in law, a man who lived life with a passion that I rarely see, who was lost very suddenly in a farming accident. My mother in law, someone who loved life as well, passed away 18 months later of cancer, so it brought back a lot of emotions that way.
However, the words gave me pause. Am I living my own life as well as I can? Am I finding the humor in life? Am I being compassionate? Am I empathic? Have I risen to the occasion? These are tough things to reflect on at 48, almost 49, entering that last decade of a career that’s pulled me in all directions. Have I done enough for my wife, my daughters, my brother, my parents? No, I’m not going down that rabbit hole, but this book really got me thinking about how attitude is a choice, and how Line made the choice to do and see the positive aspects of life.
She’d be a fine example for all to follow. A positive attitude, a positive mindset, and simply being a good person can leave a legacy of positive. Hope, determination, and love are never bad things to show to the people in your life.
I hope through this, you reflect and see those positives around you, but also those areas where you can let the “Live Like Line” mantra help you toward something a little better.
I know I have.
So, I’ve never liked volleyball, until I read this book. I may even attend a match at some point, just to see what I can learn about this sport. Who knows? I just might truly like it.