Why Ball is Life for Julia Kinder

Olivia Baker 14463048_1933371790223587_8611029660239804671_n When one hears the classic phrase “ball is life,” they typically associate it with the game of basketball. But Julia Kinder, a starter for Latin’s Varsity volleyball team, would whole-heartedly beg to differ. To put it simply, for Julia, volleyball is life. Playing since she was in fifth grade, there has never been a point in her career where she outgrew her passion for volleyball. She even tried golf and tennis as a young girl, but they provided nothing compared to the exhilaration of playing volleyball. Indeed, volleyball is very time consuming, to the point that [volley] ball is quite literally, Julia’s life. “It’s tough to stay focused,” said Julia. As if the school program wasn’t enough, she also participates in a travel program outside of Latin in the off-season. She explains that “it’s more competitive than school volleyball because, let’s face it, the ISL isn’t exactly a hardcore athletic league. In club there are so many more teams from all over the midwest and it’s a much different environment. And there’s tougher competition.” But with any sport comes difficulty and doubt. For Julia, the expectations she has for herself challenge her both mentally and physically; she admitted that there were times in her career when she wanted to quit. “I think that almost every athlete has a dip in their performance, or they forget why they’re even playing the sport in the first place” said Kinder. “I’ve definitely had those moments where I second-guess why I’m playing if I’m not even sure that I want to play volleyball in college or if I don’t see a future in the sport.” Nevertheless, it’s times like these that help Julia become not only a better player, but a better teammate. From her dedication and skill, she has learned that minor challenges will ultimately propel her further. For such a staunch athlete, there is no turning back. “Knowing that I’m working and improving while other people might be resting or taking the day off makes me feel motivated. And when the team connects really well and you have a great win, or you make that great play or dig or kill, it’s the best.” Behind the story of every great athlete is the home, the coach, and the history—but most importantly, there is the team. “I was accepted from the moment I walked in the gym doors,” said Kinder. “And I credit it a lot to Coach Sampey, the captains of my freshman year, and the three other freshmen on the team with me because we’re all super close… Honestly, it’s one of the best groups of people that I have in my life. ” Each player has a moment that they’re most proud of, that define their athletic journey—for Julia, it was one game against Timothy Christian, the volleyball team’s biggest rival. “In that match I gave it my all, I did my best not to let a ball drop, I aced serves while the entire TC football team was screaming in my face saying, ‘Don’t mess up!’ I zoned everything out and focused on the game. Even though we lost, my team gave it their all, and I gave it my all and left the court without regrets.” Of course, there are also the negative memories, those that disturb the player but serve as a learning opportunity in the future. After one particular loss to Timothy Christian, Julia even looked up Michael Jordan inspirational quotes to ensure that the team never loses to their opponents again. Thinking of it, that probably helped her a lot. Take note, readers. Although not entirely sure what she wants it to be, Julia does want a future in volleyball. “I thought about playing in college, but don’t think I’ll end up doing that. At the same time, I don’t want to have spent nearly ten years putting all my efforts into this sport and suddenly stop once I get to college.” Kinder also has a lot to improve on in the next few years, indicating how her vertical, topspin jump serve, and leadership qualities can all use a bit of tweaking. It’s clear that Julia’s love for volleyball can survive any setback, no matter the size: “volleyball has made me a better person; it’s made me stronger, more positive, more confident, it’s made me determined and relentless; I’m so happy that I have volleyball in my life.”]]>