Fox revives passion for sports through volleyball

Mia Fox (11) prepares to spike the ball during a game against Sante Fe Christian School, Aug. 22, 2019.

Practices that were once filled with fun and motivation became permeated with discouragement and anxiety for Mia Fox (11). Soccer was a sport she had been playing for almost 12 years. It was an activity that allowed her to forget her worries and be herself on the field with the teammates she’d been playing with ever since she was 4 years old. But as the San Diego Football Academy disassembled and older players went off to college, Fox was forced to transfer into a new soccer club and ultimately play a completely new but memorable sport: volleyball. 

In her new club, instead of pushing herself to improve skills and make new friends, Fox found herself doing the opposite. 

Fox forced herself to go to soccer practice every day. Getting playing time on the field was no longer a relief but rather, worrisome. Fox focused more on avoiding mistakes to not upset her teammates while playing rather than on technique. 

“I wasn’t super close with the team, so skill would be the only thing they would judge off of,” Fox said. “If I made a mistake, it was easier for them to not like me if I messed up.” 

That’s when Fox knew that soccer was no longer the sport she wished to continue. 

“When I moved [teams] it was hard for me because I lost my motivation because I liked soccer for the people on my team,” Fox said. “When I’m playing, I’m a social person so it was hard for me when I didn’t know anyone. It got to the point where when the second half was starting, I wouldn’t even want to go in the second half. It wasn’t worth staying with the sport if I didn’t really like it.” 

Fox said that deciding to quit soccer wasn’t easy but a choice she knew was necessary. Instead of quitting sports altogether, she decided to try to make the volleyball team, a sport she had been playing for about five years recreationally through beach volleyball. 

In just two weeks since this season’s start, Fox had moved up to varsity and continued to improve her skills on the court as well as build strong friendships with her teammates.

But the main factor that gave Fox the opportunity to excel and build her technique was her teammates’ constant support and encouragement. 

“I’ve never been on a team that’s as close as volleyball is,” Fox said. “Even if there’s differences outside of volleyball, everything is put aside when it comes to the sport. Everyone’s supportive no matter what.” 

Fox said that volleyball gave back her joy of playing sports. The court soon became her safe-space, a place where she was supported and motivated to be a better player and not pressured by the team. 

Fox said she hopes to combine the team’s positive energy and her leadership skills to become a role model for other players in the future. 

“I want to be somebody that the new people coming in varsity can look up to,” Fox said. “I want to help others push themselves as much as they can push me.”