The four liberos

A libero is one of the most important positions in volleyball, serving as the team’s primary defender. Fredonia’s team once had four excellent liberos, all capable of All-Conference or All-American accolades. They were on the same team, all at once, which is crazy to think about.

But here’s the thing: they weren’t all great players at the time. They were all great, one at a time.

Only one person gets to be the libero in volleyball, wearing a different-colored jersey. Everyone in the gym knows that this is the best defensive player on the team, but mostly that player knows, and it changes the way she thinks about herself: “I am the best defensive player on this team; I ought to start acting like it.”

One-by-one the four liberos graduated. When the first graduated the second one stepped up and became just as good. Then the third stepped up; then the fourth, and what I keep thinking to myself is, “Couldn’t there be a way to be the libero before you’re ready?”

Couldn’t you release your potential earlier than you have to?