Drawing by Nora Tallbott
Walter Johnson girls’ volleyball uniquely presents itself through two different aspects, team action and single-player glory. Volleyball, although not the most popular team sport at WJ, is one that defines itself by the same principle that all other sports hold dear: Teamwork. The sense of community and family is a principal value critical to the team. This value presents itself in laughter, focus and cooperation that persists at team practices.
From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday, the team hone their skills to prepare for the next challenge. Practices are communal in nature, and it is not uncommon to see teammates congratulating each other or cheering each other on.
Senior Malina Grande describes the sport as “a game of mistakes,” characterizing the errors made as only useful when studied and learned from.
Volleyball is a sport of resilience. Sophomore Halle Burns reinforces this by describing the characteristics of a person suitable for the sport.
“Someone who knows how to get back up after they’ve taken a fall. Someone who doesn’t get down on themselves easily,” Burns said.
The game requires quick thinking and on-the-spot strategy. These skills are essential because a game of volleyball is similar to the chaos of battle. From start to finish, general order breaks down as players attempt to make sense of formation and a plan of action while desperately keeping the ball above ground. Heroic sacrifices are a common occurrence as players lunge to the floor to give themselves a fighting chance. An extraordinary sight indeed, but one that lacks internal support from its school.
Many members believe that all the team needs is acknowledgment. Junior varsity coach Rosalyna Bray, stated that it is crucial to show enthusiasm and support for the team.
“The excitement that they show motivates the team and catalyzes us knowing that we have an audience to play for. Varsity coach Jackie Krampf adds to this,“the team definitely feeds off the energy.”
The volleyball team is a team of uncommon virtue. Its philosophy bases itself on the whole, the collective. The value of family already endures in the team but the sense of a wider purpose and the answer to “Who do we play for?” is relatively unknown.