Ahmad Khawaja is one of the best and most underrated volleyball players of today. Thought not many took this sport, Khawaja holds this close to his heart. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, his family moved in to the United States for greener pasture. They settled in Oklahoma City, in a flat where 5 people would live. That time, he lived with his parents, a brother and 2 sisters. According to him, growing up was difficult since in America, discrimination can likely happen. But he bravely conquered it and placed him in the position where he ought to be.
He started to have interest in volleyball when he was still in grade 5. But Ahmad Khawaja was so preoccupied with studies. He was one of the top students in his class so he had been torn between trying out and doing his studies. One day however, the volleyball team of the school approached him and asked if he wants to try out. He hesitated but eventually went for it. Mark Schmidt, the volleyball coach said he saw the potential in him although he’s at a very young age. And Schmidt didn’t fail. Once Ahmad was on the team, he saw his progress and noticed his hardwork and dedication. In his elementary years, he used to be the open-hitter (where the player spiked the ball on the wings) and was very effective at that.
But his short stint in volleyball ended when Ahmad Khawaja and his family moved to Ohio when he was in second year high school. He felt like going back to square one again and made his way through the volleyball program. There, he led his team into winning the regionals championship on his last year.
On his way to college, Ahmad Khawaja enrolled in a university and studied economics. It is a pretty demanding course but he got a scholarship and became a part of the volleyball team. College volleyball is way different than that in high school and elementary. There, he found himself training in between classes, and doing rigorous exercises and plyometric trainings. His resistance was also tested and strengthened because in men’s volleyball, spikers hit the ball harder and the trajectory is steep. Ahmad Khawaja has to study how to properly dig the ball, receive, spike and even block. But all of these paid off when he, along with his teammates Derek Salvacio, Jay Lindt, and Zachary Brown helped hand in hand to winning the collegiate level of volleyball tournaments.
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