Yesterday, I saw courage.

I saw strength of character and true sportsmanship.

On arriving in Truro…the final day of a gruelling week-long tryout process where friendships are made, ankles are sprained and dreams were dreamt…I was greeted by a few of Bones’ teammates from this years’ club volleyball team with the Bedford Blizzards.

A group of girls I’ve grown to admire.

One after the next they embraced me…animated young women…excited to tell me what a great week they’d had at camp…their very best moments mixed with a great many funny stories that had me grinning from ear to ear.

As only a group of 13 and 14-year-old girls could do.

And then the power went out.

Suddenly, games that were planned were tossed aside as Hurricane Arthur was wreaking havoc outside. A day that should have been filled with final games, high fives, team debriefings and one final meal together before they headed into their exit interviews to be told whether or not they made the Provincial Team….totally tossed aside for lack of power and fears of travelling safely home while the winds picked up outside.

Things were expedited…where normally there’d be a great gathering where 194 athletes were told it had been an exceptional week, that choosing the final teams was a process not taken lightly by the 35 coaches and scouts in attendance, that every athlete should be proud of their accomplishments and remember the week with fondness and friendship…instead, there was no time for niceties.

Before we knew it, we were starting the exit interviews.

As the parents waited…one athlete after the next met with coaches to hear their advice and learn whether or not they’d be offered a spot on the team…some of the athletes coming from the room with unhappy faces and tears, others unable to hold back their smiles as screams erupted…hugs, more hugs, tears…and more tears. The awful process where all emotions were laid on the table for everyone to see.

It was, without a doubt…nerve wrecking for all.

And I’m bursting with pride.

Proud yes, because Bones secured a spot on the U14 Provincial Volleyball team along with one of her club-mates. However, more importantly, for the five teammates we’ve spent the last year with, who didn’t get the final nod…who wanted it just as bad…who arrived at camp as one of the top 43 players in their age group in this province…who greeted me in the gym with laughter and stories over the fabulous week they had…those five….embraced their two club-mates, told them how proud they were of their friends despite their own disappointments…and walked away from an amazing week with their heads held high for a job well done!

Sportsmanship. Teamwork. Friendship.

Yesterday, five young girls showed a great amount of courage as they supported their friends…the club-mates that they’ve just spent the last year competing side-by-side. They know the amount of work they’ve all put in…the dedication they’ve made to this sport they love. They’ve long past lost track of the hours spent on the court…the aches of sore muscles and blistered feet. They know the laughter through the hotel halls at tournaments, the singing in the pool, the multiple gatherings, the hours spent together in practice, the gritty competition…the joys and disappointments…the heart that goes into working their very hardest…doing their very best…and leaving nothing behind.

This week…they left nothing behind.

And I honestly, couldn’t be more proud.