The Lucky Side of the Court

Luck isn’t really something that I rely on when playing volleyball. Homer Simpson once said, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.”

However, I learned from my high school coach, Dexter Harvey, that there is truly a “lucky” side to the court. I am practical; if there are two sides to a coin, the chance of getting either is going to be 50/50, no matter how many times you flip it. So, who cares what side of the court you get, right? Wrong.

It was game five after an intense four-game battle between my high school, San Dieguito Academy, and our conference rivals, Santa Fe Christian (who were state champs the previous two years in their division).

We won the first game, they won the second, we won the third, and they took the fourth. Notice a pattern? Every time someone won, it was on one side of the court. For the fifth game, Dexter told the team captain to pick that side that everyone had won on and so she did. We won the fifth game and the match on their court.

I know that we still had an equal chance of winning on either side, so why did this matter? Thus, I asked him about it afterwards.

He said that in many high school gyms, and especially in volleyball club facilities, the court’s background objects or colors can make it harder to see the volleyball clearly. I nodded, as this made some sense.

But the unscientific method he utilized at the time to select which side to defend was simple: he selected the side that has produced the most wins for either team.

Maybe this scenario is best explained as…”Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” –Seneca

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