The Tallest Volleyball Player On The Team



Being the tallest volleyball player on your girls high school team isn't

always fun and games for everybody.


Although its not true for everybody, many girls get teased about their

height, their long arms, their "big feet" or how skinny they are.



In many cases, this teasing serves as motivation for us to become the

best players we can be in the hope that people will start noticing our

talent and not our physical attributes.


Stanford graduate, captain of the US national volleyball team and

two-time Olympian Kim Oden tells her inspiring story about what it was

like to be the tallest volleyball player on her high school team.



Going through the teenage years can sometimes be hard. You are

always trying to define who you are as a person, your body is changing

and being accepted by your peers takes center stage.


To be accepted, teenagers feel they have to find some way to fit in

with their classmates. This process can be confusing, disappointing and

long. In addition to these very difficult aspects of growing up, many

times people try to pick out those who are different.


If you are smaller than most people in your school, darker than most,

lighter than most, heavier than most, poorer than most, you probably

already have been or will be singled out. The feeling you get from being

singled out is not good, but you know you are not alone and that this

period will not last forever. The folks who are making fun of you are only

trying to mask their own differences.


Be strong, be yourself, and use the talents that God has given you, no

matter how much opposition you face.



I was always tall. Taller than anyone else my age and in

elementary school, taller than some of my teachers! There was

just no hiding it. This resulted in some serious teasing.



As the tallest volleyball player on your team if you're teased, then you can use that as motivation to become a better player.



And it didn't end in third grade; it escalated through high school. I was

called anything and everything that had to do with skinny, tall, lanky

people or things. "Hey Spaghetti Legs" was quite popular for awhile,

then there was the typical "daddy long legs", "beanpole", "Olive Oyl"

from the Popeye cartoon...the list seemed endless.


Although these are just words, they hurt my feelings and made me wish

I were shorter. To try to achieve a shorter height, I began to hunch my

shoulders a bit and slouch down.



If you're the tallest volleyball player on your team, be proud of that fact. Many other players would love to have your height.



I was hoping that the slouching would bring me closer to my classmates'

height. But what it did was make me look even more different and the

slouching brought more attention to me--more of the kind I didn't want.


My grandmother was the first to tell me not to hide it, to be proud of it

and stand tall. She was right.


It is a futile effort to try to hide who you are and what you are made

of.


If you are tall...be proud.


If you are heavy...be proud.


If you are small...be proud.


If you are dark...be proud.


If you are poor...be proud.


You have reason to be proud because you were created with gifts inside

you to share with the world (academically, athletically, otherwise) and if

God entrusted you with these gifts, you must be worth a lot.



If you're the tallest volleyball player on your team, don't try to beat anybody who teases you. Just prove them wrong.



In 8th grade, I started playing volleyball.

Now, the height I wanted to hide was a help to me in this sport. As I

continued to play, I got better and volleyball coaches in the area

thought that I could be very good.


Like my grandmother said all those years ago, I now stood tall, and was

very proud of my height and my classmates noticed the positive change

in my attitude toward myself.


However, the improvement in the acceptance of my peers brought other

problems.


Now people asked me 'Why volleyball? Why not basketball or track?'


My answer was that I liked volleyball and I was good at it. My parents

stressed to my sisters and brother and I not to let anyone else define

who you are, but you.


As I gravitated to and excelled in sports in high school, classmates and

teachers began to make certain assumptions about me. We all know

what people think about the brain capacity of jocks.



As the tallest volleyball player on your team, you will stand out. Get used to being comfortable in your own skin.



I hate when people look at you and assume you can't do something. As

women, we deal with that a lot, and as people of color we do too. I

have dealt with it many times.


When I was high school age, it was difficult to hear negative things

about myself, without the comment really getting to me by making me

wonder if the people who said it were right.


I gave those negative comments way too much attention. Letting those

things in your mind, can do no good whatsoever. They put your focus

on what others think you are or what they are trying to define you to

be, not on what you are or can be in reality.




As the tallest volleyball player on your team, its a waste of your precious time to worry about what people say about you. Spend your time doing something that makes you better, faster or stronger than everybody else on your team.



I now realize that I don't have to listen to, or dwell on negative

comments from anyone. I now strive to let it roll off my back and keep

going.


One time in particular I remember experiencing a negative situation in a

computer class in high school. It was my senior year and I was being

heavily recruited in volleyball. One of the schools recruiting me was

Stanford University. After a campus visit, I was leaning towards going

there.


One day in computer class, my teacher came up and I thought he

was going to encourage me or give me advice about the decision I

was going to make. Instead he told me that he thought I should

forget about Stanford because the academics were tough, he

didn't think I'd be able to make it.


I had good grades, and I knew I would work my hardest to

graduate; yet he took none of that into consideration. Knowing

myself better than he did and with the encouragement of my

parents...I chose Stanford.



As the tallest volleyball player on your team you can make yourself into whatever you want to be.



I graduated in four (4) years and one quarter.

I started on the volleyball team for four years and played in four (4)

NCAA Division I Final Four Championships.

I was elected along with three others to the 1986 Slate of Class

Presidents.

I enjoyed Stanford immensely and it added a lot to my life.


Had I listened to the negative teacher, I would have missed out on all

that and perhaps that was his intention. I'm just glad I didn't listen to

him, nor did I allow his comment to slow me down in taking advantage of

a good opportunity.


In life, there are always people to tell you what they think you

aren't capable of doing. Don't listen to them. If you feel you are

gifted in a certain area and you know you will work hard to

accomplish what you set out to do, don't let anyone stop you.

Keep trying until you make it. You'll be glad you did.



Get more volleyball info on Kim Oden.


This story "The Tallest Volleyball Player on the Team" was written by

Kim Oden exclusively for the Volleyball Voices project created and

produced by April Chapple. No reproduction is allowed.

All rights reserved. Volleyball Voices copyright 2013.






Do You Have An Inspirational Female Volleyball Players Story To Share?

Do you have a great story? Share it!

The Volleyball Voices editorial project is an ongoing work in progress and I invite you and all Inspiring Female Volleyball Players readers to contribute their own personal stories of the obstacles they had to overcome in order to enjoy or excel at playing volleyball.

The purpose of this project is to empower, educate and inspire female volleyball players to become self-confident athletes with positive body images and through this collection of stories to provide ideas and inspiration to IFVP readers that will serve to help improve self-esteem.

The ultimate goal is to create the largest collection of inspirational female volleyball players stories on the web and your help is needed to accomplish this goal.

Are you one of the female volleyball players that have had to overcome any of the obstacles in the list mentioned above?

If so, please add to the collection by submitting your own story of overcoming obstacles.

Enter The Title Of Your Inspirational Female Volleyball Players Story

Tell Us Your Story![ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

Add a Picture/Graphic Caption (optional) 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

Your Name

(first or full name)

Your Location

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

Check box to agree to these submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)



If you liked the story "The Tallest Volleyball Player on the Team" and

would like to read more stories about famous volleyball players, check

out the information in the pages below.


E.O Learned How To Be A Good Volleyball Player

Famous Beach Volleyball Player Nina Matthies

Famous Female Volleyball Player Rose Magers

Good Volleyball Players Like Heather Bown Prove Critics Wrong

I Learned How To Be A Better Volleyball Player:Olympian Liz Masakayan

The First Volleyball Player America Had To Respect: Mary Jo Peppler

The Girl Volleyball Player Who Got Better Than The Boys: Laurel Brassey Iversen

The Most Famous Volleyball Player, Flo Hyman

The Shortest Volleyball Player On The Court: Debbie Green Vargas





Return To Inspirational Female Volleyball Players Stories From The

Tallest Volleyball Player On The Team



Return to Inspiring Female Volleyball Players From The

Tallest Volleyball Player On The Team







The images on this page are in the public domain or are covered by a Creative

Commons license with some rights reserved

Click on the link underneath the image to visit the photographer's webpage or for

more information.


The Volleyball Voices

Boot Camp Class, Clinics and  Competition,

Stupak Recreation Center, 251 W. Boston, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89142





Volleyball Equipment