By Lexie von Zedlitz
Senior night is always one of the most anticipated games of every season. There will be flowers, there will be cake, and there certainly will be the cringiest middle school photos of everyone that only moms can uncover. The whole day is filled with promises of who is and isn’t going to cry, and as the ceremony draws closer, the excitement only grows.
Experiencing senior night as a freshman, sophomore, and eventually junior, you start to treasure the night with a deeper appreciation. The tears fall harder and the hugs grow tighter, as is it becomes more difficult to say goodbye to people who have had such an impact on your life. As you spend more and more years on a team, you’re able to find your place and develop bonds with your teammates that are made unique by a mutual love of the sport. They’re the faces you wake up to at 5am for early morning tournaments, and the last people you say goodbye to on your way out the door. For 12 weeks, you spend every moment together though grueling practices, and late games. You celebrate wins and grieve losses together, and eventually you becomes more than a team, but a family.
Walking down the court on my own senior night, four years after I slipped on a pair of knee pads for the first time, I was overcome with the love and compassion I felt for the girls standing in front of me. With my arms looped through my parents’, the room started to go a little blurry as tears began rolling down my cheeks. It was the end of four years. Four years of conditioning, running plays, winning games, losing them, and just enjoying a sport that I’ve come to love. I’ll never again go to Tropical Smoothie with my teammates before an unusually exhausting and condition-filled practice. Won’t blast old Justin Bieber on the bus rides to away games anymore. I’ll never play high school volleyball on a team with my best friends, ever again.
It was certainly the first big ending of senior year, and I remember sobbing uncontrollably into the top of a freshman’s head, while she stood there mortified having only known me for a few weeks. But the awkwardness was easily melted away by smiles and laughs as we all embraced what senior night was all about. The seniors were moving on. Leaving behind Justin Bieber filled bus rides and early morning practices for new adventures and experiences. We’ll always remember the goofy practices and team lunches that seemed silly at the time, but which now hold the utmost significance. That night, we each said goodbye to the part of our lives to which we dedicated so many hours and weeks. And in that moment, it seemed like four years passed by in the blink of an eye, but it’s four years that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.