Looking back, my time with SPIKE - VinUniversity Volleyball Club, from its conception to its operating days so far, has been nothing short of exhilarating. The start of SPIKE’s creation was a natural occurrence as I have always wanted to start a volleyball club at VinUni. Being an enthusiast, I was disappointed to discover that in Southern Vietnam where I was from, the sport I was so passionate about was more sought-after compared to the North where I reside today. My mind was slowly filled with dread as my fear of being unable to find anyone to play with sinked in.
However, fate decided to change its course and nothing was the same. One day, while browsing through my VinUni Discovery feed, I stumbled upon a post by a fellow student who wanted to find other volleyball enthusiasts to play with. The post, while simple in its wording and intention, managed to light a fire inside of me and shut out any doubt I was having. And to add to the winning streak, said fellow’s love for volleyball, could easily rival mine. After a few exchanges, it was evident to me that this was an opportunity to bring SPIKE - from a mere idea - one step closer to reality. The decision to share my vision with him was a risk that I was so thankful I took. He shared the same sentiment and agreed to become the vice president of the club and support me in my endeavour to make SPIKE a dream come true.
Among our seniors from the previous cohorts, there exists a small community of volleyball players who found each other and bonded over their National Defense Education sessions. It was this community that gave me a chance to play volleyball during my first few days on campus and represents an overview of the cumulative interest in the sport among students. Stories were told of the founder of VinVolley, the predecessor of SPIKE, and of how the club had no chance of lasting long due to not having enough members. Stories were told of a senior, whose dedication to the sport even surprises me, who struggled to solidify a spot on campus for the sport he loves so much, due to lack of interest once again. And hopefully, stories will be made of me, a girl simply wanting to make a change by solely her passion and commitment.
With the hope of our stories being told, a mutual love for volleyball and support from like-minded friends, I mustered the courage to start the club. Through casual meetings that were supposed to be invitations to join the club but no one feels like it, I formed the club’s main executive members. Weekly practices at the outdoor court were organized, everyone on campus was encouraged to join in on the fun and the goal was to build a dedicated community. History seemed to repeat itself as getting folks to join our matches was a clear roadblock if I have to be honest. However, the community kept growing, albeit slow growth, thanks to the hard work of our core members.
Being the club's president, my primary goal was to create a sense of community and camaraderie among our members. In my eyes, it is essential that every member can feel like they are a part of society and their contribution is appreciated and does matter. With that goal in mind, we organized many club hangouts where we got to know one another and bonded over shared quirks. These moments tightened our bonds and turned our club from a mere hub of volleyball players into a close-knit community.
An unforgettable moment and achievement for our club were when we received and accepted an invitation for a friendly match with the university’s provost Dr Rohit Verma. Being able to have a match with our provost certainly helped with the morale of the club, we were determined to make a good showing of our skills and teamwork while also making sure our esteemed guest was having fun. Training for the match was planned meticulously and executed as if it was a training montage from an action film. The day of the match came and it felt like the climax of everything we have done so far: the pain lingered on our palms, the sweat felt on our foreheads and the rapid pounding of our hearts, was evidence of how much joy we had.
Throughout my journey as a founder and the president of SPIKE, valuable lessons were learnt and kept in my mind. One of the most significant lessons came from a book called Volleyball Fundamentals, which taught me that "a missed serve not only eliminates a chance for your team to score but also gives your opponent a point plus a right to serve." This book makes me realize the importance of concentration and saving the team's achievement by all means, which is equivalent to my honour of being inspired by all seniors to write the next chapter for volleyball VinUni.
If it was not clear enough from all the words I have expressed, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for volleyball with other enthusiasts and to create a welcoming community at VinUni. If any message were to be sent from me, it would be that: anything is achievable with perseverance, passion and resolve.
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