Sunday November 8, 2015
Yesterday was the most fun I've had at a sporting event in a long time. Erin's Mayo Spartans won a section title yesterday and are off to the State Volleyball tournament this week. That doesn't even begin to tell the story...
Mayo was facing Lakeville South, the 3rd ranked team in the state. Mayo won the first game in pretty routine fashion and us fans in the stands were feeling pretty good. Game two was neck and neck, but Lakeville edged ahead and evened the match at one game apiece.
Game three was an ass kicking... by the wrong team. Mayo looked down and out and things didn't get better at the start of game four. Mayo found themselves down 21-17, just four points from elimination. But something really cool happened... they refused to lose. They played as a team and their senior leader, Shannon's friend Anna, led them with her positive attitude and belief. Mayo took game four 26-24 and game five was never in doubt as Mayo finished off Lakeville 15-10.
For Erin, being on the bench, being a part of this experience and watching her friend, Lexie, quarterback the team out there was pretty special. Lexie stepped into the setter role this year and it wasn't without growing pains. But, when it mattered most, she played great.
So yesterday Dan and I screamed and shouted and rooted as hard as we could for these girls who are like family to Erin. Through the whole thing, we were sending up silent prayers to our angel, hoping she could send some good mojo our way. As I've said before, volleyball will always be attached in our minds to Erin's life in the after. There's no doubt it's a part of her recovery from the loss of her sister.
After the game, there was excitement and hugs all around. And, for me and Dan, one poignant moment. While congratulating Anna, Dan said "Shannon would be so proud of you". The tears flowed for all of us. Shannon was remembered in that moment by the people who loved her and walked with her on her journey. She is always with us.
So, one final week of volleyball. There will be a pep fest send off on Wednesday, the state banquet Wednesday night, and a first round game on Thursday morning at the Excel Center in St. Paul. Couldn't ask for a better way to end the season.
Posted by Jennifer O'Hara