Take it from Michelle Cobb: if something is meant for you, no amount of rejection can stop the universe from conspiring to make it happen.
Back in 2015, Cobb was just one of the dozens of aspirants who trooped to the Enrique Razon Sports Center for the annual tryouts of La Salle’s women’s volleyball team.
Though she made it past Day 1, the playmaker off St. Scho waited in vain for a callback from the coaching staff which only meant one thing: her dream of donning the La Salle jersey in the UAAP is not happening.
“Na-depress ako (nung di ako natanggap). Clinose ko na talaga ‘yung possibility. Sabi ko I’m not gonna play anymore,” Cobb said, taking FOX Sports with her down memory lane.
Cobb may be lacking in height (5-foot-3 1/2) for La Salle’s standards but her playmaking skills are enough to earn her a slot in other collegiate squads may it be in the UAAP or the NCAA.
Through the heartbreak, however, she chose to stay put in Taft as a regular student.
“‘Yung school talaga ang gusto ko. ‘Yun na rin kasi ang comfort zone ko, ‘yung environment sa La Salle. ‘Yung sister ko tsaka sa family ko madami taga La Salle so mas familiar na ako sa system nila,” she shared.
Having accepted her fate, Cobb went on with her life despite the thought of having her PE class on the same floor where the Lady Spikers train on daily, a painful encounter for anyone who has experienced rejection.
Little did she know that on just her first day as a student, she will get the biggest surprise of her life.
“Nung first day of school, PE class ko nun. Papunta ako sa class and nagja-jog ‘yung mga Lady Spikers. Dumaan ako sa harap nila coach (Ramil de Jesus) eh hindi ko naman alam na kilala pala nila ako,” she recalled. “Tapos pagpasok ko sa classroom, tinawag ako ni Ate Carol Cerveza and sabi niya tawag daw ako ni coach. Kinausap ako ni coach tapos sabi niya: ‘Training ka sa amin.’”
The dream wasn’t dead after all. The universe, perhaps, just wanted a more dramatic entrance for the diminutive volleybelle.
“Nabuhayan ako. Sabi ko: ‘Sign ba ito?’ Wala lang. Nakakataba ng puso,” a wide-eyed Cobb said.
She then went on to spend her first year in team B with the likes of Justine Tiu and Aduke Ogunsanya before impressing everyone as a starting setter for the Lady Spikers in the 2016 Unigames in Dumaguete.
Fast forward to 2017, Cobb already cracked La Salle’s Season 79 lineup, becoming the back-up setter for veteran Kim Fajardo, a springboard to inheriting the starting position come 2018.
Living by the mantra ‘one step at a time,’ she shares: “Ako, hindi ko muna iisipin ‘yung future. What’s important is now. And ang role ko now is to contribute kahit I’m given limited time.”
Asked what she is doing to prevent herself from being a liability in the famed blocking system of La Salle, Cobb revealed she is already hard at work in learning how to at least deflect attacks.
“Actually, parang insecurity ko na siya (pagiging maliit). Pero wala eh. Natural na ‘yun eh,” Cobb shrugged. “Sa training, I work on my vertical leap. And ‘yung form ng blocking ko, hindi katulad sa mga matatangkad. Tinutulungan ako nila coach na mag adjust dun.”
“I’m doing my best na mapunan nung skills ko what I lack in height,” she added.
Cobb could have chosen another school. She could have tried out for another team. She even could have used the rejection as vendetta to push her to be a worthy opponent from an opposing squad.
Yet she embraced her supposed destiny and gave up, not knowing she was just giving in to what the world has in store for her.
Cliche as it may seem, sometimes, in turning dreams into reality, a ‘no’ does not really mean a ‘no’ but a ‘not yet.’
How do you know the difference? You can’t. You just have to trust the process.