When I went back to college after my mission, I decided to fill my Phys. Ed. requirements with a volleyball class. I had played the same game most Americans have played that we generously call volleyball, where the only thing more lacking than knowledge of the game is talent to play it. I remember my first volleyball experience being at a family reunion where the only consistent rule was “two tries for small fries,” meaning if a young player missed a serve, he got a second chance. I liked this rule, being a small fry at the time. In my teens I played in some more competitive, competent games, but never seriously. So I decided to take a beginner volleyball class.
There was a girl in the class—we’ll call her Emily, since that was her name—who attracted a lot of attention from the guys. She was very cute, friendly, and not a bad volleyball player. And I, being a recently returned missionary, was on a short schedule for marriage.
I was kind of a chicken though, not daring to ask her out in person. Luckily, a friend knew a guy; actually he knew a lady from his neighborhood who worked in the school’s administration office. Most likely breaking the law, but also interested in our post-mission efforts to avoid becoming menaces, she procured me Emily’s phone number.
Later, after writing down exactly what I would say, I called the number given me. An older lady answered the phone. I asked for Emily.
“Sorry,” she replied, “She moved out when she got married. Can I take a message?”
I’m not sure how long it took for my heart to resume beating and my brain to pick up the signal again, but I finally stammered something like, “No thanks. I’ll just talk to her in class.”
Luckily, this small fry got a second try on that serve, and promptly stepped off the court.