Clocking the hours and committing the time

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10 years 10 months ago #31369 by vb101
Clocking the Hours and Committing the Time
Becky Murdy ... time/43797

As defined in the dictionary, commitment is the “act of pledging and agreeing to someone, something or an idea fully and completely.â€￾

For Amy Zimmer commitment is re-learning volleyball, joining a new club, driving three hours total to and from practice, three days a week, clocking hours of gym time and missing holidays and birthday parties. And to her it is all worth it.

“I would never have been able to experience this or know that I can make a career out of volleyball if I hadn’t jumped in whole-heartedly and dedicated my whole life to this,â€￾ Zimmer said.

The 6-1 soon-to-be senior at Port Huron Northern High School in Port Huron, Mich., has been playing volleyball for six years and recently joined the Michigan Elite Volleyball Association two years ago.

“I come from a small town and volleyball isn’t big there,â€￾ Zimmer said. “I heard about Michigan Elite from one of my teammates and I decided to make the commitment to join the club when I realized I wanted to make volleyball a career for myself.

Her dream of becoming an Olympian is well on its way. Zimmer has her blinders on and is focused on her goal of being a successful volleyball player. She plans to sign with a college upon the conclusion of the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, spanning Aug. 25-30 in Tucson, Ariz.

“Hard work pays off,â€￾ Zimmer said. “To get here I had to learn volleyball over again after my sophomore year. I changed clubs and had to correct my fundamentals when I started playing nationally.â€￾

Young athletes take the good with the bad when it comes to time-consuming activities such as volleyball. Zimmer has had to give up many moments to get to where she is today but she feels that those moments are made-up ten fold with the memories made at tournaments like the High Performance Championships.

“Its hard sometimes because my social life takes a beating,â€￾ Zimmer said. “I have missed some holidays and even had to cancel my own birthday party but it is all worth it. I get to participate in tournaments like this and get to interact and hang out with new people every day. You can’t beat it.â€￾

In her sophomore year, Zimmer changed clubs forcing her and her parents to travel an hour and a half in each direction to get the to weekly practices. She had to clock extra training time on a daily basis to get her skill level to where it needed to be. With her recent success and rostered position on the USAV HP Girls’ Youth A2 Blue team, she says that she shocked a lot of people.

“Never give up,â€￾ Zimmer said. “A lot of people back home might be surprised that I am here. I can’t even believe I am here sometimes. It is such an honor and I will continue to push through and get better.â€￾

The 2011 USAV HP Championships is the culmination of why the Michigan native puts all of her efforts into volleyball. She says that the friendships she makes at these tournaments are those for a lifetime and maybe, just maybe, more important than taking first place.

“When we were here training our coach let us play games and invited the Chinese to play with us,â€￾ Zimmer said. “Though we couldn’t verbally communicate with them, it didn’t matter because we didn’t need to. Facial expressions are universal and when we smiled and laughed so did they. A friendship was created right then and now every time we pass them we wave.â€￾

Zimmer added that she is an example of a volleyball product that comes out of a small Michigan town, not California or any other geographical locations that sometimes seem like volleyball-making machines.

“I think kids all over the country can be part of USA Volleyball,â€￾ Zimmer said. “We need to get the word out about this kind of stuff because there are kids in small cities like me that may not know what is available to them if they are willing to work hard.â€￾

In addition to the high-level of play offered at the HP Championships teams have the opportunity to share with each other their cultural traditions.

“I love meeting players from other parts of the country, especially Hawaii,â€￾ Zimmer said. “I never would have guessed that I would be sitting in the hallway of a hotel in Tucson singing with the Aloha region while they played the ukulele. Where else can kids do that?â€￾

The voyage to Tucson is six years in the making for Zimmer. With NCAA Division I and II offers pouring in she is even closer to her volleyball-career goals. One thing the outside hitter won’t forget are the people who have cleared the path to get her to where she is today.

“I owe a thank you to a lot of people,â€￾ Zimmer said. “My parents have driven me long distances for volleyball and I have two other siblings they have to cater to as well. I wouldn’t be at this championship if it weren’t for the sponsorship of my grandmother. She is the reason I am here.â€￾

Currently undefeated, Zimer and her USA Volleyball Girls’ Youth A2 Blue team have their eyes on the prize. The team is competing in the Girls’ International division and defeated the USAV Girls’ Youth A2 White team and the International Youth team from Iowa, Tuesday.

“It is truly an honor to wear the USA on my back,â€￾ Zimmer said. “I don’t and never will take that for granted. I am playing volleyball for my country and that is the greatest of all things.â€￾

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