“Oh? Was that too much?” he asked teasingly, “sorry. I should have held back.”
The server girl, the one who had called him cocky, scowled.
He saw and smirked.
“Get the ball, honey, lets try the same thing again.”
She pressed her lips together angrily and quickly picked the ball up, spinning it in her palm before trying again.
“Now… she’s either a one trick pony or she’ll let her anger get the better of her and mess up the next serve.”
Dabi watched as she prepared to serve and her body moved the same way as before.
She was extremely easy to read and again, Dabi easily smacked the ball down on their side of the net before anyone could retaliate.
“Listen,” he said when they all gave him the same look, “you guys need to talk. And you,” he pointed at the pissed off server, “need to learn more serving styles and placements. Or are cross shots all that you know?”
“Coach,” the girl called angrily to Tonkata who was smirking from the sidelines, “I don’t appreciate the way this new guy is talking to me.”
“He’s talking facts,” Tonkata replied, completely on Dabi’s side, “if you only ever do one shot the opposing team will figure you out very quickly… just like Dabi has.”
She looked back at Dabi snd scowled again.
Dabi just stared her down, not backing down from this 16 year old who thought she was king shit.
“I’ll have you know that I won awards for—,”
“Not being able to get past a single opponent?” Dabi quipped, interjecting into her high and mighty rant.
She immediately threw the ball at the ground and stormed off court, all eyes following her except Dabi’s
“Ok. You, in the red vest,” he called, pointing to a suddenly freaked out 14 year old.
“Me?” she asked with a mortified expression on her face.
“Yes, you. Omawei, right?” Dabi said, watching her timid form as she shuffled onto the court.
She nodded, staring at her shoes.
“What position do you play?” Dabi asked.
“Uh… opposite hitter,” she said softly.
Dabi shook his head. “No, you’re not. You shouldn’t even be standing on the court.”
Her eyes welled with tears and she bit into the inside of her cheek to stop from crying.
Dabi quickly ducked under the net and crouched down so that he could look up into her face but she shut her eyes so that she didn’t have to look at him.
“Do you even like playing volleyball?” he asked in a firm yet non threatening manner.
She didn’t move.
“Who in your family played volleyball?” he then asked.
“Mum,” she whispered, a tear slipping from between her tightly clenched eyelids.
“Mmm,” Dabi hummed knowingly.
“Then you go and tell her that it was her dream and not yours.”
Omawei’s eyes flew open and she looked at Dabi dumbfounded. He had hit the nail on the head. Her mum had forced her into volleyball, claiming that she would make Omawei into the volleyballer that she had been when she was in school and would get her to nationals… thus living out her dream through her daughter.
“I… I can’t,” Omawei replied fearfully.
“Then you’d better practice,” Dabi said as he stood up, “those are your two options. If you want to get better, stay on court. If you want to quit and pursue your own hobby, leave the court now. I’ll count to 5.”
Poor Owawei panicked, looking at the other girls to help her but they just watched on curiously.
“1…” Dabi said loudly, his tone making Omawei flinch, “2…”
“I’ll stay,” she blurted out, “I’ll get better.”
“Good.” Dabi smirked and stepped back then ducked under the net, “now who is serving next?”
At the end of the 2 hours there Dabi had almost all of the girls under his thumb. They knew what to expect of him and he had a rough idea of each of their capabilities but his main concern was Omawei.
After their initial talk, she tried her best to play at her peak but she had no strength and had no idea what she was doing.
As he watched from his side of the net it was plain to see that all the other girls on the team just instinctively knew that they couldn’t rely on her and wouldn’t even let her touch the ball.
So, in true Dabi fashion, he kept returning the ball in her direction, hoping to give her the chance to prove herself but she would always step back and let someone else get the ball.
If she happened to be in the right place at the right time, she would always fumble it.
Not one of her returns ever made it to another person, let alone over the net.
“Omawei,” Dabi called to her after the last round, “stay back. I want to talk.”
She nodded. No longer afraid of Dabi. He was a tough teacher but he knew his stuff and she trusted him after he instantly understood her situation.
Dabi looked at the coach and he nodded, stepping forward to say a few last words before letting the girls go for the night.
“Well. As you can see, things will be different around here.” He looked at each of the girls.
The sweating, puffing girls nodded.
“Dabi will be with us for the foreseeable future,” he added with a glance at Dabi who lightly wiped one drip of sweat from his brow, barely breathing heavily despite having taken on a team of girls for 2 hours.
Dabi nodded. “Don’t get comfy,” he said to the girls who grinned back at him.
For the most part he had won their respect. There were a few who were a little coy, and one who had just up and left, but the majority could see how well he played and were keen to learn from him.
The coach dismissed the team and Omawei looked at Dabi.
He jerked his head for her to come over and they walked away from the group down to the other end of the hall.
“Do you really still want to play?” He asked.
“I… I do. But I’m going to need a lot of help,” she said shyly, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“Have you got a volleyball at home?” Dabi asked.
“Throw the ball up in the air and catch it. 100 times a night.” He stated.
“100 times?!” she asked disbelievingly.
“And catch it then throw it up again?” she clarified.
“What will that do?” she asked genuinely.