Recently, the team I worked with lost a tough match, wrapping up a tough week.

I know I used the word tough twice in that last sentence, but it’s been a tough time. (Twice again, sorry not sorry.)

It’s never easy to lose, especially with such high stakes as college volleyball in the Pac-12 Conference (yes, I know the Big Ten is awesome; the collegiate landscape is a post for another day), but it’s even more difficult to lose at home in front of friends and family.

First serve wasn’t until eight at night, and that’s already way past my bedtime, so I was prepared to wait out the team meeting, take my requested student-athletes and coach to media, wrap up my night, and go home.

That’s not what happened, and what did is exactly why I love my job.

I was on my way to the tunnel when I saw the team coming back down stairs. A couple of them looked at me, and said, “we want to sign autographs, the fans have been asking.”

While I was aware that we weren’t signing autographs that night—remember when I said it was late?—who am I to say no?

So of course I didn’t. I found my colleague from marketing and asked her to go get them some markers.

Now these young ladies didn’t have to come out after losing to one of the top-10 teams in the country, after losing their 12th consecutive set. No one would have faulted them for heading off to the locker room for a few minutes before they headed off to see their friends and families, but the fans were asking and they wanted to answer the call.

And the line of fans who stayed after the match wrapped around the court.

For me, it was the fantastic cap to a really mediocre day. Not only am I not the biggest fan of late night match starts (see also: a post for another day), but I was extremely stressed about life. It’s my current status, hell, it’s my constant status. Also, I was really excited to wear my Steve Madden lace-up heels, only to discover I only brought the right shoe, along with the right foot of one of my Tom’s wedges. So I had to wear flats that kind of didn’t really match my outfit.

Did I mention I was tired?

But my student-athletes managed to turn around my mood by doing something that had nothing to do with me. It shows just what kind of ladies we have here, and it’s moments like these that I could not be more proud to help promote this program and this athletic department.

Speaking of home games, two more coming up, the first of six we have this month. It’s going to be one long ride.

– Kathryn, the Fake Redhead

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