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Playing with the boys.

Gabby Reece Spiking

Once a year my good friend Coppin invites me to play in a fun all men’s volleyball tournament. Really good players come from all around the Islands, California and the North West. If it wasn’t for Cop I don’t think I would play volleyball at all except to bump it around with my girls or train with a friend’s kid from time to time.

Coppin is all about what sports are meant to be. He pursues excellence, tries his best, is a team player, gracious winner and loser, reminds me to go out and have fun, and really is a kick ass athlete. All niceties aside the guy is mighty.

Our first match was against a very good team that we lost 15-10, second match we won 15-5, third we won 15-7, fourth match we won 15-10,and lost our fifth match 15-9. Coppin played on fire and I just go out and hold my own. I always say we will do well if I don’t make a lot of mistakes.

Besides going out and getting the competitive juices flowing, it is so fun to see that on the faces of the other team that they do not want to lose to the girl, and the short guy. Coppin is a compact man who is just fortunate enough to sky and be lightning quick. I can stand across the net and feel their anxiety about even the possibility of losing. It’s great. Then I almost feel bad when we win, but I get over that quick.

I really do enjoy playing ball with the men because they are just so straight up. It’s not personal or about “feelings”. It’s about I want to win, and nothing more.

Playing all day has gotten tough on my knees, and I pay a hefty price for a few days. When I sleep at night I feel like my bones are touching, and it feels like hot metal. Ouch. So worth it. I have been looking into alternative treatments to improve the condition of my osteo-arthritis. If I can figure out a good remedy for my knees I was thinking I could actually play better in 2 or 3 years than I do today. I have tried prolotherapy and synvisc for relief but nothing long term, yet. Who knows with all the PRP and stem cell treatments happening there may be a bright future for my poor knees?

When I play ball I am reminded to just let it all go. I’m not a Mom or a wife or even a girl in that environment. I’m just a person, jumping around, yelling, and diving around being free. These are the days that help keep my spirit young.

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