Here’s to Showing Up

Letter from the editor

Letter To The Editor HeadshotNo one can accuse me of being a quitter. In fact, I can admit to the opposite: dogged determination to the point of diminishing returns. Take volleyball, for example – more on that in a minute.

The summer issue of WILMA includes a special section on health and wellness, and in the pages ahead, you’ll read about women who are pushing boundaries in that space.

There’s Bevin Prince, who moved to Wilmington during the pandemic and opened an outdoor cycling studio, endured unimaginable personal tragedy, and continues to push ahead (read her story here).

There’s Pallavi Saraf, who took her experience as a dentist and furthered her training to help patients with sleep apnea, opening her own practice this year (read her story here).

There’s Karyn Oetting, Ann Marie Pierce, and Brynn Sheffield, who collectively have run more miles in a week than I have in years. They’re setting running records left and right as well as expanding the local running community circle (read their stories here).

So, before you jump into their inspiring stories, I can share my record of not breaking records.

For more than a decade, I have played hundreds and hundreds of beach volleyball matches. If I were to tally the scores, we’ve probably lost more than we’ve won. But I keep showing up.

After moving to Wilmington, I scoped around for things to do. It’s a beach town – beach volleyball seemed promising, even though I hadn’t touched a ball since high school PE class.

Found Capt’n Bill’s. Signed up for a league made up of four-person teams. Quickly got schooled. People here are good, really good.

After an embarrassing learning curve, our team gelled. Over the years, core members have come and gone – moved away, moved onto other hobbies, etc. But the Sandy Bottoms – so named for the sheer amount of time spent flailing on the ground to dig out passes – endures.

We’ve won exactly one tournament trophy in all that time. It gets passed among team members whenever someone has a milestone life event, à la The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

If I count up the amount of money I’ve spent on registration fees, food, drinks, and future knee replacement surgery, it’s one expensive trophy. My 9-year-old started lessons this year though, so the volleyball college scholarship I’m banking on should offset some of those costs.

At the same time, I know I can count on four hours on the weekend (having since expanded to also playing doubles) where I will be moving, raising my heart rate, and my Apple Watch won’t be so judgy.

Over the past decade, we’ve played as young, unencumbered folks. At some point, babies and kids tagged along; post-game Advil and ice packs became more regular. There are good nights and bad nights, if looking only at the score.

But we still fight for each point, even if it means landing on a Sandy Bottom.

Vicky Janowski, WILMA editor

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