When we landed in Tehran on Monday, the Iranian Men's Volleyball team had also landed at the same time. Fans were standing iPhones out, whistles blowing, cheering the team home from a win in Brazil. The atmosphere was invigorating, and I couldn't help but tear up.
Tear up why? Probably because I remember what it feels like to feel proud after a victory, to wear the same jersey as a bunch of other goofs who've got your back, to sweat, struggle and thrive with a team.
Sports was my life in high school. Volleyball in the Fall, basketball in the winter, and off season games and practices in the spring. School spirit was rather low at the incredibly small French school I went to, and our crowds were rarely packed. But that wasn't the point. The point was the team. Week after week, Season after season. We knew which schools we hated, we knew which schools had the worst gyms, and we knew which coaches to stay away from.
Goodness knows what high school would've been like if I hadn't had sports.
Sports was my life to the point where I was considering a Sport Media minor before college, to the point where freshman year I spent my time looking for photography internships in the NBA (do they even exist?), and to the point where, for a brief millisecond, I considered studying physical therapy.
I've had many a team in college, from my freshman year dorm-mates, to my pledge class sophomore year, to my knitting club while studying abroad, to my various photo teams.
But let's be honest, nothing beats the feels you get from a team you're playing a sport with.