The Final Game

Narration Essay

By Dana Sabestinas


It was November 1st and it was the day of my last volleyball game. I ran into my friend Eri and we started talking about the game later that day. It was against Tunkhannock. They were the best volleyball team from our area, and wouldn’t you know it on our senior night we had to play against them. Senior night was the one night where the seniors were recognized, whether they were good or not. The whole day the team was joking about how much we would lose by against our rival team. In a game to fifteen we thought we would end up owing them points.

“Hey, Eri, are you excited about the game tonight?” I asked.

“Well, I’m more sad than anything,” she replied. “I’m going to miss all of the freshman that we taught how to play.”

“I know, but don’t you think that it’s going to be a funny game tonight?”

“Oh yeah! We’re going to get killed,” she added. “Don’t you think it was wrong for them to schedule our senior night with that game?”

“Yeah, I do think it was a little unfair,” I replied. “But at least we know we are going to get killed and don’t really have to worry about it.”

Everyone knew that this game was going to be impossible to win, so we all sort of shrugged it off. The last practice before this game consisted of reminiscing more than drills. Even our coach knew we were going to get killed, but for some reason everyone had in the back of their minds ‘what if…’

“Don’t you think it would be funny if we actually did win this game?” I asked.

“What? Are you nuts! They haven’t lost a game yet,” Jen replied.

“No, seriously. Don’t you think that they are thinking the same thing we are?” I added. “That they could win, no problem. And maybe their coach will put in the not so good people for that reason?

“Dana, they don’t have any ‘not so good’ people on their team,” Jen said while giggling.

“I don’t know. I think that we could give them a run for their money.”

“Finally it was seventh period and school was almost over. I could feel the butterflies growing in my stomach. It was 2:35, five more minutes to go and I was counting down until I could run to the gym to start practicing for the big game. No matter whom we were playing, seventh period was always good for an adrenaline rush. Even though I knew we would lose the game it didn’t matter to me. I played because I loved the game.

As I was walking over to the gym I ran into my good friend Justin from the boy’s volleyball team, and we got to talking about the upcoming game. He walked with me over to the gym.

“Do you want me to pass with you for a little while, until you get warmed up?” he asked.      

“Yeah that would be great,” I replied, “I’m going to need all the help I can get so that I don’t get my arms broken.”

So then we passed for a little while, and my forearms began to look the color of two raw pieces of meat, but I felt more confident. I was ready for them but I still knew we would lose.

Finally, it was time for the senior night ceremony. Tensions were high and it was supposed to be a special night for us. Losing just wasn’t an option. All of the seniors lined up along with their parents and waited for their names to be mispronounced over the loud speaker. At last it was my turn and I couldn’t be happier. This year was a bad year for Coughlin volleyball because of all of the favoritism, but at last it was over. I no longer had to put up with people kissing the coaches’ butt in order to get a starting position. I wasn’t the butt kissing type and therefore my teammates seemed to hate the fact that I made starting varsity on my own terms. I walked up toward my coach, smiled and shook her hand, then my freshman friend Lisa handed me a long stem rose, a bunch of balloons, and a corsage for my mother. As I walked past my teammates to my place in line all I saw were teary eyes and even though I couldn’t wait to be rid of them, I too felt the tears building in the back of my throat.

After the starting line up was announced we were ready to begin the game. I took my place at the net, middle front, and was ready for the first time to just have fun playing a sport that I love. Somehow our team got first serve, for the first time all season, and it was all up to Gina. The whistle blew and the ball went soaring over the net and defiantly hit the ground without a touch. Ace!

“Wow! We actually got a point off them!” I said to Jen and Karrie.

“I know, I can’t believe it!” Jen replied.

She served the ball again and they brought it up, and sent it back over. The passes were perfect for a change and I got the set that I had wanted all year long. Smash. I hit the ball so hard that my hand hurt. I watched it as it passed straight through the opposite teams arms and hit the ground. That turned out to be the only kill for our team the whole game. The butterflies began to do the Irish jig in my stomach. I couldn’t believe that we had two points over them already. And it was obvious that Tunkhannock was getting nervous, because they started to yell at each other.

It was Gina’s turn to serve again and it grazed the top of the net. Side out. It’s their serve. Their first server whaled the ball and almost knocked over Carla. Carla is a 4’ 9”tall stocky little girl. She returned it, but that serve was so hard that all she could do was send it back over to them and pray they screwed up. Well, as expected they didn’t. Their big hitter was going up for a kill and it was like slow motion for me. I remember reading her, by the way she was going up for the hit, and trying to figure out where she was going to put the ball. I was in perfect sync with their hitter and went up for the block. Rejected. I got the block.

“Oh my God! I can’t believe I did it!” I screamed

“I know, you did great,” Jen told me.

“Way to go Dana,” Karrie shouted.

After we all touched hands we got to serve. We scored one more point that game. At the end the score was 15-4 Tunkhannock. But we were ecstatic to have even scored on them, let alone four times. We lost that night, but we were winners in our own minds.

A game is just a game, but feeling good about the way you played is what matters most. I was able to finish the season on my own terms and not lose my pride. You don’t have to win to be the winner. It felt so good to be proud of how I played and how we played as a team. For the first time we weren’t mad at each other after a loosing game. We just slapped hands, gave hugs, and went to the senior party afterwards.