Sport(s) played: Volleyballl
Q1: Why did you choose the sport(s) that you play?
When I moved to Madeira in 5th grade, there actually wasn’t a volleyball rec team. This meant that before my family had moved here, no girl was able to play the sport until the 7th grade team in middle school. My mom worked so hard to start the rec program and make opportunities for younger girls to get involved with the sport, and as her daughter, I of course played. I fell in love with the sport after seeing how much my mom loved it, and I couldn’t see myself not continuing to play throughout high school.
Q2: What is your favorite Madeira sports memory?
My favorite memory is from last year, when we beat Mariemont in a 5-set game at the home gym. It was such an intense game to play in and the energy in the gym was so exciting– between all of the parents and students that came and were cheering.
Q3: How do you get motivated to practice each and every day?
Personally, volleyball is never something I had to motivate myself for or force myself to go to. I love the sport with my whole heart, and I look forward to playing each day. Even though there can be hard practices and we have to run occasionally for punishment, this is still the sport that 9-year-old me fell in love with, and nothing can change that. There have been a few times where I felt burnt out, but playing the game always resparks that connection, along with the amazing people I play with. If I ever do need the extra push though, music always helps.
Q4: What superpower do you wish you had and how would you use it?
I wish I was able to teleport, because something I would love to do when I get older would be to travel the world, and teleporting would facilitate that. I want to visit Greece, England, and Paris, amongst other places. I used to hear my grandfather tell me stories about traveling all over the place, so one day I want to do it myself.
Q5: Which athlete(s) would you like to have dinner with and what would you talk about?
Although she isn’t a famous athlete, I would like to meet up with Carly Scott again. When I was a freshman, she took me under her wing and helped me acclimate to the varsity team (she was the senior captain). I was very nervous and quiet because of how much older these girls were compared to me, and I didn’t know if I deserved to be there. But she made me feel comfortable and I figured out my place on the team and became friends with the girls by the time the season ended. I think having dinner with her would be interesting, just to catch up on how college volleyball is going for her and I can tell her how high school volleyball has been for me. She helped me instill confidence in myself and was an amazing role model who passed on her jersey to me, and I want to be the same amazing role model for other girls.
Q6: What makes a great teammate?
An ideal teammate is someone who is there because they want to be there. Having a team of players who love the game is necessary for success, otherwise they will not be willing to give their all. I know that, for myself, I try my best to take care of my team- whether that’s sending reminder texts before every game, giving rides so that everyone can show up, and organizing extra practices/team bonding if the team is up for it. Being a leader and team player is so important to volleyball, because everyone on the court must lead in some way. Setters must tell their front row what play they’re running, Defensive-Specialists (DS) must call the ball and go after everything, and the hitters must know what spots are open on the court and tell their setter/DS what they’re seeing on the other side of the court. Communication is key, and everyone must pull their weight, win or lose, happy or upset.
Q7: What is on your pre-game playlist?
I listen to two different types of music before a game. One would be Nora’s playlist that we blast in the gym while warming up, to get us hyped and our energy up. But the other is music I got from Carly Scott, who was a senior when I was a freshman. I think our favorite was “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, and I honestly don’t know why, but I remember listening to it on our way to games every time we played (she was my ride to almost everything). I’ve recently shown that song to my sister, who is a freshman player this year while I am a senior. Now, the tradition continues and we listen to it on our way to games!
Q8: What is the funniest thing that you have seen or happened to you in a practice or game?
I think my favorite funny moments always come from Katie Dickess when she’s dancing around the gym before games and practices. She’s such a cheerful person and always gets the team excited to be there and ready to have fun, even when we know we’re about to have a hard practice.
Q9: What is next after you graduate?
Sadly, I will not be continuing volleyball after high school, but I think that during this past summer I’ve mostly figured out what I would like to do. I’ve always had an interest in Interior Design/Architecture, and I plan to follow that route in college.
Q10: What advice would you give an 8th grade athlete as they move on to high school sports?
Don’t be afraid to be you. I know it’s hard coming into a new school and being younger than everyone around you, but your sport should be your safe space. It’s always difficult at first to get to know a team full of strangers, and I remember feeling the same way. I was scared to speak up and try to connect to people when I was a freshman, but I promise that as soon as you crack open your shell, you’ll see how fun and exciting Madeira sports can be. The relationships I’ve formed from volleyball have been amazing, and I have so many fond memories that I will cherish forever. I know it’s easier said than done, but there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. No matter if you play soccer, volleyball, football, or anything else, this is going to be your team for however long you choose to play, so getting to know them will be in your best interest. For fall sports especially, your team will be like a built-in support system when going from summer conditioning to school starting, so it’ll be like default friends. On top of that, just make sure that if you play, you’re playing because you love the game, and not for any other silly reason. Loving the game and loving your team is one of the best feelings, so don’t be afraid to become friends with older players and make memories with them. Good luck to all of you 8th graders, you got this!