Bartlett – Three Ways Being Around Sports Has Affected My Life For The Better

This past week I took a behind-the-back pass to the face, but it’s all a part of my work. The cool thing about my jobs is that they keep me around sports, even when a 7th-grader tries to break my glasses. My work had me scorekeeping 7th-grade middle school volleyball, hooping with 8th-graders, and learning from Seattle’s elite. Here’s sports and life. 

7th-Grade Volleyball

One of my jobs involves supervising a gym at a private school in Seattle. 

My shifts this week had me covering elementary-middle school girls’ volleyball. The first match featured 5th-graders who struggled to strike the ball over the net, while the last one featured 8th-graders who could play a competitive game.

But this story isn’t about Wilson; it’s about Millie. 

During the pandemic, I worked at a Catholic school, watching the teacher’s kids in an all-day daycare setting. 

The job was cool, but I eventually left to return to my pre-pandemic position. 

During the third match, I noticed that my new private school was facing my old Catholic school. I didn’t think much about it until about three minutes later when I was asked to run the scoreboard. This invariably meant that I had to socialize with everyone at the scorers’ table.

This proved a blessing in disguise after brief pandering mentioning that my favorite student of all time went to the religious institution. The Catholic mom said that Millie was playing in the match today. 

This immediately changed my weekend. 

The second I saw my former student, my heart warmed like Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson remembering all the fun we used to have. 

We probably weren’t supposed to play full-speed tag indoors or freestyle rap…

During her first serve in the match, she hit the ball directly at me, point home team. 

After the contest, I asked her if she remembered “Mr. Nick.”  

 She replied, “I saw you over there.”

Out of respect for the student-teacher relationship, I gave her a quick fist bump, and we parted ways.

8th-Grade Hooping  

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know how much I love basketball. You also know that I’ve been healing from a debilitating health condition.

A condition that has limited my ability to play the game I used to obsess over. 

But it all felt like this changed earlier this week. On Monday, I worked at an after-school center at the private school. 

While watching the students play, one of the kids asked if I wanted to join in. 

Considering I coached one of the players, I had to oblige. 

Upon stepping onto the court, I started to hoop, but really hoop. It was the first time my body felt free in a long time. 

But a ball suddenly disrupted my freedom. While guarding a curly-haired kid, he fired a behind-the-back pass that hit me directly in the face. My glasses took the brunt of the damage, according to my optometrist. 

After concern from the players, I pushed my smashed glasses off my nose and continued to play.

I’ve never felt free-er.

Basketball and Community

One thing I’ve learned from working around Seattle’s elite kids is their sense of community. 

On Tuesday, there was an open house event in which new prospects came to check out the school. 

There were hundreds of unfamiliar faces circling the campus. 

The one instance that stood out to me was a group of students playing two-on-two basketball. 

The current enrollees immediately invited prospective students to join their game. 

This felt meaningful to me; in a society that can feel cold at times, this was a beauty. 

And I don’t know if this would’ve happened everywhere. 

Avatar photo
About Nick Bartlett 201 Articles
My name is Nick Bartlett, and I am a Senior Writer at as well as a Senior Writer here at OregonSportsNews. My work has been featured in the Seattle PI, OregonLive, and various other publications. I've also served as a guest on Sirius XM radio as a "Pac-12 Football Insider" For business inquiries, you can reach me at - Email: Phone Number: 425-366-9711