more like thanks Michelle for writing that 62k-word Haikyuu fanfiction!
Curiosity about it had me watching that volleyball anime, because I felt that I needed context to fully appreciate the piece of literature that she had produced, but I didn’t think I would have ended up in the same volleyball hell as her until I walked out of a sports shop in Hatyai with a Molten volleyball in my hand and feeling extremely smug about it. But to be fair I must admit that she is in a deeper level of volleyhell; where she has already written two fics I have only been playing volleyball.
Sadly it’s pretty difficult to start volleyball when you’re both a beginner and don’t belong to a club or a school. I had no choice but to incessantly bug everyone I could lay my hands on for technique criticism, which either meant crashing their house (thanks SY and sorry not sorry, XY) and serving in their lawn, or sending phone-recorded videos of my receives to everyone I know who play volleyball. I’m still very, very bad at it, so it’s pretty funny to visualize how I’m going to do in my uni’s intramural competition next week.
Fortunately Yu Chia also got dragged into volleyhell recently so she was not too annoyed at my asking her out every evening to go practise serving and receiving at every field and cemented badminton court we could find. Indoor volleyball courts are impossible to grab hold of, which made me really sad when I was browsing YouTube on one tab and furiously looking in vain for courts we could rent on another. These precarious places coupled with my reckless receives during one practice with Yu Chia and SY made my Molten sail all the way across the road and into the irretrievable ditch on the other side. I was dejectedly thinking that my volleyball career was over, as the poor blue and yellow blob floated quietly too far from reach, feeling bad for myself and for practice cut short, when I remembered that I had already risked Yu Chia’s mom’s annoyance one time too many, and had awoken SY from her well-deserved evening nap to come serve balls at me, so it absolutely cannot end here. We drove immediately to the nearest sports store to buy a new Mikasa. And so goodbye dearest Molten floating in a ditch!
I think the highlight of this must have been when Michelle came down from Alor Setar to play volleyball with me. She was wearing an Aoba Johsai shirt (only because the Nekoma one was already dirty). Yu Chia met up with us at a new field outside my house and after warming up we began doing some practices, and when it was my turn I was determined to have my ball go really really high so I can boast to XY who has been skeptical as usual and scoffing that I can’t serve high at all. So whoop!!! went my underhand serve and the Mikasa did fly really high, until it landed in the huge and deep drain. Yu Chia was really chasing it with all the heart of a true libero, I think she must have remembered how shit I looked when my Molten flew into the ditch in the exact same way.
I must have looked like shit again because Mikasa was only 3 days old by then. So I was there in shock that this happened again in the same way, and I must have turned into a vegetable just standing there unable to do anything. This drain must have been higher than the height of the men’s volleyball net, and Mikasa was going to float away into the underground sewage soon. I was in even more shock to see that Yu Chia was standing right above where Mikasa was and TRYING TO JUMP IN, while repeatedly saying that this was the last time she’s going to have anything to do with me and my volleyball, which I understand and respect completely.
In the end Michelle found steel rungs attached to the inside of the drain from some distance away before Yu Chia had lowered both legs. I was still rooted to the spot thinking and blaming myself and also experiencing a total brain block that I had let this shit happen again. When I snapped out of it and asked where Yu Chia was Michelle said she was already in the damn drain! GOD YU CHIA I’M NOT LETTING YOU GO THERE ALONE!!! But I did because when I was sitting at the steel rungs trying to climb down after Yu Chia I was shaking and slipping and falling were all I could think of. But Yu Chia was so swift and nimble that she was out faster than my thought process, looking at me like it wasn’t a big deal, and I hugged her and said we’re going to a safer place to play.
So we were going to take a bus to the safer fields without huge-ass drains when who else turned up at the roadside but Michelle’s parents! They gave us a ride to another new field which made our calves all scratchy and itchy afterwards, but at least we got to play properly this time! Michelle’s dad even came out of the car to give us a quick lesson. There were no monkeys, no dogs, no drains and no ditches, giving us the most peaceful play we have ever had (at least I hope so, for Yu Chia’s sake). Yu Chia being 10 times cooler than me even bought us drinks at the petrol station (both me and Michelle thought we were only playing ball outside my house and hadn’t brought anything else).
Anyway, shoutout and good luck to friends also in volleyhell in other parts of the world: Taliza and nmh who joined volleyball clubs at their unis. I’m very jealous but I’m also sure that I’ll be jealous of myself when I’m there, jealous of this warm volleyhell where nobody actually knows anything about volleyball but we play it anyway (or tolerate, in XY’s case).
tl;dr: Haikyuu was amazing but friends + family + family of friends are even more amazing