There is something about playing in your hometown that's just different.

Whether its high school football teams defending the honor of their hamlet or professional athletes going back to where it all began, putting it all on the line in the place that raised you is a tough feeling to describe. Those games are certainly bigger than normal, regardless of what an athlete may claim in an interview.

Jordan Valley, junior defensive specialist and libero for the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns volleyball club got to take that feeling a step further.

Jordan's hometown is listed as Haslett, Michigan. Haslett is a small town just east of Lansing, Michigan, where the Cajuns played the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational, their first tournament of the 2022 season.

She grew up in the shadow of Michigan State, her uncle played soccer there, and last weekend, she got to play volleyball against that hometown team.

After putting up a valiant fight against the Spartans, in which Valley managed 14 digs, and winning their other two matches, the Cajuns ended the weekend 2-1. Valley even earned herself Allure Enhancement Center "Player of the Week".

But there was one more victory claimed at that tournament.

I have always been a sucker for those heartfelt videos of athletes being surprised with the news that they have been put on scholarship.

It's something that always makes me a bit misty-eyed, as I can only imagine how much work it takes to be a collegiate athlete. Those three words, "you're on scholarship", must bring about such a feeling of accomplishment and vindication for it all.

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And this one didn't disappoint. Coach Kristi Gray telling Valley how proud she was, then Jordan turning around to see her family there in the stands holding printed paper spelling out the news.

And the one constant across all videos like this, her teammates rushing her in celebration.

These are the kinds of things that make sports special.

The Cajuns continue their season at home in the newly renovated Earl K. Long gym on September 2 at 9 am against North Dakota State for the first match of the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic.

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