During my last year of teaching fifth graders at Hope, I had three of the four seniors on this year's volleyball team in class and am very familiar with their families: Hailey Lange, Shelbey Zachariah, and Sydney Zachariah (ducks forever). Unfortunately, I did not have Brea Metz since she entered our school corporation later. However, I got to know Brea as well as her family due to her, like the other three, being on the team when our daughter, Haley, was a senior. In addition, I know many of the other players in some way as well as their families. Thus, I felt very connected to this group. Needless to say, I wanted them to continue to win like all of their many fans. Despite their best of efforts, victory just did not happen as they fell to Tindley 2-3 in a very competitive match (25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 12-15). In the evening, the highly ranked Christian Academy then advanced to the Class A State Championship by beating Tindley 3-1.

As a parent of two former Hauser volleyball players who also very much wanted to advance each season, I know how difficult it is to lose when you are so close to taking another tournament step, in particular if it is your final season. Emotion takes over when you start thinking about all of those hours of practice and matches including club and league, coaches, speeches, friendships, gathering around the food tables, bus rides, late homework nights...

In time, you will find your way through it. My sister, Sally, wrote a song entitled "Life Goes On." When living life to its fullest, there will be mountains and valleys. With each, we grow in our understanding of ourselves and others.

No matter what, the many positive experiences this season will always be with you. My advice is not to focus long on the last defeat but on the last victory when you were holding that regional trophy. One day, you will walk in the Hauser gym and see your team picture with all the smiling faces after that victory. You will be proud! Wonderful memories will return. How many teams did not even win their first match in tournament play? You were among the final 8 in Class A! How many victories did you have during the season? You accomplished one of the best records in Hauser volleyball history with 33!

Once out of school, you probably will not play the game very often due to being too busy following other dreams. But, you will think about the value of time management skills and team skills that you gained by playing. You will be so thankful, so thankful you had the opportunity to be on the 2016 Hauser Volleyball Team! And yes, all of us will remember how you filled our hearts and lives as we watched you play the game as individuals and as a team. We really can't thank you enough!