Sand in my Suit – We’ve been hanging out a lot recently

We’ve been hanging out a lot recently. A “meet the parents” dinner, surprise stop-ins at my work, countless rendezvous, mornings, afternoons, weekends — the whole enchilada. People ask if I’ve found somebody steady, and although we have no official label, I feel a level of commitment towards this person, which makes me feel more secure. Do I have a boyfriend? — er, girlfriend? I mean, volleyball partner? Sorry, I get my personal and professional relationships mixed up these days (you have no idea). The lines are so blurry, and there is no referee to check the ball mark.

Why, just a month ago I was singing “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl” because after one successful tournament with my good friend’s partner I secretly pined for a second date. I was becoming a worried, lovesick child, fearful that every other volleyball player had a steady partner to train and compete with, leaving me, the village bicycle.

I’m no village bicycle. I’m the pimped out cruiser with the basket, bell, and tan leather seat that everybody wishes they could ride. That’s the confidence of champions, right? Right. Except I wasn’t feeling quite like a champion. It didn’t help when another player dropped me after one not-so-stunner performance together whilst I was under the impression that we were going to work through our weaknesses. I became wounded inside. No basket, no bell, and definitely no leather seat.

That’s when I decided to turn to a fellow training buddy, Kelly Schumacher, for relationship advice. After expressing my concern about seeing the same duos play together weekend after weekend and how that would affect my shot at true love, she assured me not to worry because it’s still early in the season. Finding a partner is business when it boils down to it, and not everyone is going to be content with the person they started the season out with. So, looks like I can expect the exciting game of musical chairs to continue well into June gloom.

This piece of South Bay volleyball knowledge put my mind at ease, but then we arrived at the crux of my woes: singlehood. Thinking every Monday that unless I lock down a partner by mid-week I can kiss playing on the weekend goodbye is not something that gives me solace.

Then Kelly turned my world upside down when she illuminated the benefits of being “single,” mainly that it gives one the freedom to focus on oneself. This is the perfect time when I can really be selfish with my training. She is right. I am a young (naïve) player who has potential (who needs a lot of molding), therefore I shouldn’t freak out from a lack of consistency with any one individual because this is just the beginning of my training — the beginning of my journey to become a professional. “As long as you continue to grow and mature as a player you will be going in the right direction,” she said.

Kelly stands at an impressive 6-feet-5, mind you, so I might believe anything that she tells me — but I was extremely grateful for her advice. Instead of pining about Jessie’s girl, I was grooving to a whole new tune by a rapper that I’m 100 percent sure none of you have heard of: Monica’s baby daddy Rocko. His words are brief, simple, and grammatically incorrect: you just do you cuz umma do me.

Brilliant. What this (struggling, I’m sure) rapper is trying to say is that he is not going to let others distract him from his personal thoughts, actions, and goals. Chaos can pollute the air around him but he will choose to stay grounded and focused on himself. So I embraced the rapper’s lyrics and didn’t let the tears and drama that were flooding the volleyball court at the time affect what I came out there to do. It was working — and, my friends, there is great truth in the saying that, “you find what you’re looking for when you are not looking for it,” for, like a gift from the heavens, a situation fell right into my lap…

I got Jessie’s girl. Not forever. Not for the rest of the season. But for training sessions, and that was good enough for me. Her relationship with her partner, who is like a sister to me, was in foul territory, and I was just the rotating piece that could fit in the hole. We haven’t had the official “us” talk yet, but it feels oh so good knowing that someone wants to train with me, compete with me, and basically gut it out with me. We’ve played in two tournaments together and are traveling this weekend to compete in the Corona light wide open tour in Siesta Keys, Florida. I feel a security blanket being draped gently around my shoulders, but I have to be careful, for the warmth I feel now can be stripped away from me tomorrow. A better offer could come, or we may grow apart, realizing that our pieces don’t fit together as nicely as we thought they did.

You just do you cuz umma do me.

Katrina Zawojski lives in Hermosa Beach and is chasing her dream of a career in professional beach volleyball. Follow her on Twitter at sandinmysuit1.

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