The Jhamtse Gatsal girls’ volleyball team faces Lumla Higher Secondary School. Photo by Nidhi Iyer
August 15, 2016
For the last three years, Jhamtse has enjoyed supporting the elder boys of our community at a local volleyball competition celebrating India’s Independence Day. However, this year was particularly exhilarating and historic as, for the first time, the organizing committee included Lumla’s female athletes, as well!
Jhamtse’s girls’ team, assembled of seven spirited students from grades 7-10, challenged themselves, rallied in the face of discouragement, and finally stole the show, emerging as Lumla’s first ever women’s volleyball champions! The community was thrilled to gather in support of our tremendous sisters, to cheer them on and embrace them in congratulations of games well played—those both won and lost. Their focus, teamwork, communication, positivity, and sportspersonship were an inspiration throughout the week-long competition, and to watch them beam in that accomplishment, raising the trophy high in the air on the final ride home, was truly a joy.
But, the students can tell it better than I can. Here are some pieces of writing describing their experiences of the final match, by members of Classes 6 and 7:
Dorjee Yangki, Class 7 (team member: servicer)
It was 15 August and my team was going to play in the finals. First the boys played. Sir Lham Dorjee told us not to stay in the sun.
Now it was our turn to play. We were against KGBV. They were strong. I could hear my heartbeat was beating loudly. I saw clouds were becoming dark in colour and I could hear lightning. At first we decided to play best of five. We did a bit of warm up. At the first match we lost it. We took some break and our staff gave us some feedback. I drank water with glucose and it tasted sweet. We were ready to play the second match.
I could taste rain water and could feel it. But I was not cold, I was warm.
I could feel rain was falling on me. I could hear people shouting at me like, “Service on the net.” I gave service and it got straight to the side of centre and they couldn’t receive it. I felt relaxed and excited. We won the second match. We were happy. It was becoming darker and our referee said that we would play only best of three and we all agreed it. And I also agreed it. Now it was final and we had to win it. It was all mud and it was all wet. We all played from our hearts. Our children and staff were saying, “Play it from your heart.” Now our points were 13 each. We changed our side. I was happy that we got the good side. I could feel that the ball was very hard and it hurt my arm but I could receive it. I received the ball and gave to our main cutter and she gave a smash and we got points.
Now we needed only one point to win. It was my turn to serve it. I felt like I would finish the game. I gave service, and it went straight to their cutter, but the cutter received it and she threw outside of the line. I could see it was an out ball. I asked Tashi Tsomu, “Don’t receive the ball,” and she heard my voice and she didn’t receive it. It was the end of the game. We won the final match. We got our trophy and many people were taking pictures. There were many cell phones. I was nervous where to look and at last I looked in front of me and gave a smile.
Sonam Lhamo, Class 7 (team member: substitute)
It was a sunny morning but as our Jhamtse team played the water dripped and it started to become rainy. I felt cold and I was scared. As I stood up and went to cheer for our team I saw that we didn’t have any space but our Ma’ams Ishika and Nidhi were trying to make space for us. But my ears were also paining because there were many people, volunteers, leaders, students, and players. Most of all of them were cheering. Then I crawled from under the truck because there was no space to go from. I smelled the petrol leak and I saw the water mix with it. For the first match I cheered from under the tent but when I realized that K.G.B.V. won I wasn’t satisfied so I went around our team to cheer, support and encourage them.
When we won one match then I took a long breath and gave a smile to each of the players showing my thumb and raising it high like as if I was wishing them good luck. Then I felt the dust and the sweat of myself. When I turned back a taxi rushed behind us and it smelled very bad which was the smoke of the car. Then a person gave me a bottle to clap with it.
As soon as we won the second match I saw that the bottle was crushed. When our team played the third game I wasn’t as scared as I was before. And I also saw that when we were singing the English and Hindi song peacefully the others didn’t cheer at all. When I looked at the field I saw Yangki receive the ball and I felt like she would fall because it was raining and it was muddy too. And when Yangki served everyone was telling her to serve in the net except for Jhamtse and some others which were supporting us. They were encouraging her.
When our team won I threw the crumbled bottle away and bowed from under the white boundary thread and just jumped and hugged each of them for a long time and took the longest breath.
When we were going to take the trophy we went with line and as everyone was shaking our hands. We felt like so special guest. When they were taking pictures I saw that there were many cell phones and the flashlights were on and felt like as if we are the actresses and they were shooting film.
Tsering Lhadron A, Class 7
Yesterday by playing of volleyball by sisters my heart was sinking in the droplets of water. I could smell the powerful dirt that passes by. Smashing of the sound I could hear the sounds of the audience shouting and cheering for their team. I jumped and felt like a flying bird that just got freedom because I saw my sis were winning the game. I felt fear of losing because they had the similar points. Then children were running hugged the sisters and felt the sweet hugs and cried the cheerful tears.
Sangey Lhazom, Class 6