Six long hours after departing Hotchkiss, we finally reached our destination. We pulled into the parking lot of the Super 8 just off Interstate 76 in Sterling, Colorado. Since I had been to this hotel on a previous trip to Sterling, I began wishing I had brought my swimsuit along. Mom and dad went inside and got the keys for room 129. I was so sick of riding in the car that I did not care what the room looked like as long as there was a bed for me to sleep on. As we entered the room, on the left there was the bathroom sink, a mirror, and a place to hang our “good” clothes. To the right, was the miniature bathroom. There was not enough space in there for a midget. Stepping out of the entranceway, there was a wooden dresser with a 27-inch television. By the large window, there was a small table. Two queen size beds sat on either side of the nightstand. The purple patterned quilts were quite shocking compared to everything else in the room.
Awaking at 7:00 a.m. on the cool morning of December 7, 2003, I prepare for a long day. I put on the spandex and T-shirt that I will wear during the tryout at Northeastern Junior College. By 7:30 a.m., my family is walking over to the neighboring hotel’s restaurant for our breakfast. It did not take long to decide that I wanted two golden-brown, buttermilk pancakes with warm maple syrup for breakfast. Both of my parents knew what they wanted right away and as usual, we were all waiting for my little sister to decide. Finally, she decided on the pancakes. It took only ten minutes to get our food and what a relief that was considering my stomach sounded like there was a lion inside. The pancakes were delicious, and my dad’s biscuits and gravy was yummy. However, the cinnamon roll my mom order was hard as a rock and she had to pour maple syrup over it. That did not help it at all. After breakfast, we returned for some lounge time in the hotel room.
My dad and sister watched television, my mom crocheted, and I worked on my Kinderbuch for German class. As usual, everyone but me fell asleep. At 10:30, we packed all of our things into the back of the Tahoe and pulled around to he front to return the keys. Once the keys were returned, we set out to find Northeastern Junior College, which was not that difficult because there were signs telling us where to go and I had been there before. Finally, we parked the car and embarked on a journey to find the Bank of Colorado Event Center.
We approached a large maroon and gray tin building with large white letters that read Bank of Colorado Event Center. My stomach starts turning circles as I approach the maroon door. I felt like I was on the Tilt-O-Whirl at an amusement park. Through this door is a college gym that I could play in someday, if the tryout goes well.
Stepping through the door, I looked straight into a gym. However, this is not the gym where the tryouts will take place. The gym I want is down the long, semi-lit hallway. The hallway opens into a large lobby area where there are large silver doors that lead to the outside, and two sets of maroon double doors that lead into the tryout gym. In between the maroon doors, there is a small table with a laptop and many papers sitting on top. Behind the computer is a lady, the head coach, with a black shirt from the college. Her warm smile is refreshing considering all the incredibly large butterflies that are flying around inside my stomach. She tells me I can go into the gym and pepper around to get warm and we will begin at 2:00 p.m. I started thinking about the tryout and how terrible this experience could be.
I enter through the left set of double doors. Two volleyball nets are set up on the hardwood floor. Looking around, I see a bunch of sponsorship banners hanging all over the walls. To the right, the individual seats, similar to bleachers, are pushed up into a tall wall. There is a loft on the right side, which overlooks the gym floor. The loft contains many different types of weight equipment. Video cameras are set up in the loft to assist the coaches in viewing the tryouts.
To the left of the double doors, a fellow volleyball player was stretching and preparing for the next two hours. Sitting in the tan plastic chair, and slowly putting on the tall, white socks that reach my knee, the white volleyball kneepads, and the blue and white tennis shoes, I watch the tall college volleyball players pepper and think this is going to be scary. Stepping onto the cool hardwood floor, I warm up with a from Pueblo County. The boundaries for the two courts are marked with royal blue tape. I cannot tell that it is tape because it looks like part of the floor. Slowly, the gym fills with s from all over the state. They are all here to try out for the Northeastern Junior College volleyball team.
As time goes on and we begin the try out, the temperature rises on the floor. Volleyballs are flying everywhere. s are chasing after them and placing them back into the bucket. Everyone is playing their best in hopes of being recruited. During the two-hour tryout, everyone sweats, rests, and then participates in the drills. It is hard to tell just who is nervous because everyone is keeping their cool and having fun.
Half the stay on the court that is closest to the exit doors and the other half retreat to the far court. After running around the court and stretching, it is time to leave this place. The place that appeared to be extremely frightening at first turned out to be an extremely fun place in the end. Walking out of the silver doors, I sigh in relief knowing that what I just experienced was much better than I thought it would be. After six long hours of driving on snow packed roads, I am back in my own house, sleeping in my own bed, thinking “There’s a first time for everything and I’m glad my first tryout was nothing like I had imagined.”