The dedication and joy of playing the sport
Just as the school year starts picking up steam, the volleyball season has come and gone. This year’s team has learned a lot over their season, and the players have much to be proud of. Yael Mainzer, a junior on the team, felt the team was developing further than before, sharing “we are improving a lot more than we did last season.” Sophomore Kayla Joel agreed, saying “I think it’s going very well, especially compared to last year where we only won one game, and now we have won four.”
The team felt that the growth over the season can largely be attributed to new coach Pelumi Adesina’s leadership. Freshman Izzy Khandadash lauded the coach’s work on the team, explaining that “we have a coach that really wants to see us succeed, and she will do anything to get us to that point.” But Coach Pelumi’s goals for the team are only possible when the players put in the work and listen to her advice. Izzy added that Coach Pelumi “doesn’t sugarcoat things, she really stays true to her morals,” but that her candidness is crucial to the team’s improvement.
While the team has been excited by their “stats” this season, their victories have required some serious sacrifices of time and scheduling. The volleyball season is short, but the players are certainly not slacking. Yael Mainzer mentioned that “the season is only three to four weeks, but we have five to six games a week, sometimes two in a day.” For a high schooler, this responsibility is no joke when considering homework and travel time. Kayla Joel felt the tight schedule makes it “very stressful with schoolwork, so I am up pretty late.” Izzy expounded on this point, explaining that “most days I don’t get home till 8:30, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for schoolwork,” but also added that “it’s not impossible” when players take advantage of office hours and lunch to get their homework done.
These late nights and tough practices cannot be sustained without the motivations of a cohesive and encouraging team. Izzy characterized the team as “a very close family,” and said that although “it can be very hard to join a new team, you get very close once you’re on it.” A team is only the sum of its parts, and the morale is in no small part a result of the players’ efforts. Yael and Kayla both emphasized the team’s ability to “hype” one another up and make volleyball an energetic and fun space to spend their time and hard work. Thus, the long nights spent playing against other schools and the challenging practices are worth it for the players because they are a part of a larger unit. The team succeeds with their dedication, and the team rewards them with joyful camaraderie and the satisfaction of hard-earned victories.
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