Mental Marijuana

I am not a normal player. The thought of game day, most times, does not make me feel hype, I usually feel my stomach in my throat and also get this weird paralyzation action where my mind is so spazzed out I move at the speed of an average-paced turtle. After not playing in actual games since my collegiate season ended in December 2013, I forgot how nervous I got. This season I have really struggled with performing my best in games, but I have started to find some great solutions to this problem.

If I listen to loud, screamy music and if I scream and yell during warmups, I get way too jumpy and spazzy for the game. At Michigan, we read this leadership book and this chapter was about finding your “number.” All of the yelling and getting hype stuff makes my number skyrocket to a 10. It is funny to me, because I can totally feel it. Every play seems so much harder and I somehow get the lung capacity of an infant, taking the shortest breaths of all time. I need mental marijuana before I play. I don’t actually smoke (that would make things really difficult), but for me, to find my appropriate “number,” I need to get to a complete state of relaxation. I need to sing songs, slow, relaxing songs in my head while I am standing waiting for the other team to serve. I need to basically numb my mind, or else it will think way too much about every tiny thing. My point of this whole randomness, is I have finally found my mental marijuana, relaxing state in games (only 7 months out! LOL). In all seriousness though, my practices and games are starting to look very similar, which is just groovy.

The past months and the next months, my life will be pretty much only volleyball. So, if this bores you, I am sorry, I don’t have any good travelling or foodie stories.

Here in Finland, I have had a lot a lot a lot of alone time. I have realized things about myself that I might not have discovered had I been in the states with all of my friends. First: I did not realize how much FOMO I have (FOMO: fear of missing out). In college, I had a FOMO for sure, but the thing is, in college if someone says, “oh you missed out on so much last night,” you can always go out the next night or weekend and have so much fun it didn’t matter how much you missed out on the weekend before. In Finland, I get to see all of these great parties and events back in the States, and now, instead of making up for missing out the next weekend, I tell myself that soon, in 150, 85, 68 short days, I can make up for it. Second: I really love the grocery store. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel like my day is complete without going to the grocery store. I am laughing at myself and maybe I am in such a small town that the grocery store is a banger of a time for me, but I love going. Third: When I get excited about something, I drop everything and have an excitement panic attack. For example, I had this idea that my christmas present to my dad should be a brewery tour in Houston. I spent all afternoon researching the best ones and texted him a ton of times to see if he would want to go with me, etc. I also get little spurts of excitement looking for jobs. If I get excited enough, I spend all day researching jobs and e-mailing companies. On the other hand, If I ignore the excitement, I get tons of butterflies. This has been particularly hard, because when I get back to the states, the first thing I will be going to is a college reunion-ish thing, and when I get excited about it, I get so much energy before bed. It makes sleeping hard.

We just played a game yesterday against the 3rd place team in the league and won in 5. I discovered I am kind of a bad-ass, but it is all 100 percent internal. So, there are a few girls on this other team that appear to be very cocky. Cocky in volleyball is like yelling through the net at the other team when you get a point or laughing at the other team when they lose a point. I am aware that many athletes, athletes of all sports, are cocky and this helps them have the confidence they need to perform, but if you are cocky, chances are I hate playing against you. I am my hardest critic and never feel satisfied about my play, so seeing people who act like they are all that and a bag of chips really pisses me off. I know this is wrong, but it’s me. Anyways, these girls are just straight up yelling through the net and in my mind, I’m thinking I appear to be giving off the vibe of “yeah bitch, you wanna yell through the net? Check the score and how many points you have actually scored in this game.” In my head, I think I look like this tough, hard ass, but what I actually look like is this calm, smiley, gentle player. My coach is teaching me some bad-ass italian hand signals that I can start to use in the game to improve the gentle giant exterior.

We have one more month left of regular season, and are doing really well. We are currently in second, which is awesome. I am learning more and more italian hand gestures each day. I also am learning a lot of Finnish words, but only ones that start with a P. I learned the word “butterfly” in Finnish because we do a drill called butterfly almost every other day, and it is “perhonen.” My teammates name is Piia Kerhonen, so naturally I started calling her Piia Perhonen. Then, my other teammates started giving me new P words to add to her name, so that’s the logic behind my Finnish vocabulary.

I will be watching the Super Bowl next weekend with my roommate who is the biggest Patriots fan of all time. She loves Tom Brady, so she secretly goes blue even though she went to BC. Have a great week all!

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