You may be asking yourself this very question. Perhaps also what makes this team work? Who are the wonderful ladies who make up this team? And the number one question, why do they love each other so much? Well luckily for you, I’m here to answer these mind boggling questions for you! Isn’t that just peachy??
Geneseo Volleyball isn’t just any other sports program. We’re a culture, a brand if you will, and most of all a family. I’ve only been a part of this family for a few months, however it feels as if it’s been years. We all have a mission, which happens to be the same one… the same goal that many teams also would like to achieve. Collectively as a team, we hope to win a SUNYAC title. We are all selflessly willing to invest all we have toward achieving this goal. With all our heart, mind, body, and soul. We want to expand our culture and connect on levels that not everyone can. We also want to be role models for the Geneseo community and hope to inspire the little girls and even boys who are interested in volleyball, we hope that by watching us play and grow as a team, it will give them a push to join a team of their own. We have let the grip loose of what this program’s reputation once was and created a vision for the future and the present. Not everybody is meant to be a part of a team, nor does everybody get along with all their peers and thankfully for us, we got lucky and are obsessed with each other! Countless hours in the gym, on the bus, in the weight room? Count me in! Dinners and breakfasts together? I’m there! We click— simple as that. The chemistry on and off that beautiful court is like no other, and it certainly helps that we are able work well together to get through the adversity we may face during a game.
A team spends so much time together throughout every season so they are bound to learn a thing or two about one another. When it comes to GSUVB, we aren’t shy with what is going on with us. We know practically any and everything about one another, we are always there for each other when someone is down, and we ride that high together when we’re out on the court killin’ it. I can truthfully say that I’ve found lifetime friends and family in Schrader gym. And as for knowing who we are, you’ll just have to come to a game or two to find out ;).
The standard definition of leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. What isn’t described in this definition is the many forms leadership can take and how it can show differently in each individual. To me, leadership is shown through putting your teammates before yourself and putting your team’s goals before your personal ambitions. A selfless leader, filled with optimism and positivity, will only help uplift the team and push his or her teammates towards success.
When most people picture the typical “leader” of a team, many imagine the single, superstar athlete, calling the shots, leading the team to a championship victory. What many people don’t picture is that same exact team filled entirely with leaders all working together in pursuit of their common goal, a championship victory. Many overlook this idea because it’s not the societal image of a leader, but every individual has the capacity to lead and does so in very different ways. Throughout my life, I’ve seen and worked with a variety of leaders, but the most interesting part was experiencing all the different leadership techniques they employed. Some leaders are vocal 100% of the time motivating others to do the same, some leaders lead through their playing ability which is typically considered leading by example, and some ultimately strive to combine these two aspects of vocal leadership and leadership by example. In my eyes, the people who can combine these two forms of leadership are ultimately those who lead teams to success.
In my opinion, some of the most important leaders of the team go completely unnoticed by outsiders, even sometimes unnoticed by their own team, unless they start diminishing their role. It’s not always those that lead the stretches or scream the cheers, but more importantly those who get to practice first and leave last, those who are approachable, those who radiate positivity, and those you work so hard even if they know that there are others more talented. They are inspirational, humble, diligent, and strong. They do not need the everyday praise from other teammates and coaches but solely rely on intrinsic motivations to push them forward. I aspire to be a leader of this capacity one day, and I believe others should as well.
Every athlete will have those days when they ask themselves why? Why are you waking up at 5am to go to practice right now? Why do you spend hours in the gym trying to make yourself stronger or faster? Why do you miss classes and have to stay up late making up homework or notes or tests and quizzes? But every athlete should always have an answer to that why!
I have multiple whys and whenever I’m struggling at practice or having a bad game or even a bad day in general I remind myself of them and constantly think of them to motivate me and get me through that tough time.
My first why is that I want to be the best player in the gym and make history. I want to be noticed and push my teammates to better themselves and help our chances of making history and winning a SUNYAC title for the Geneseo volleyball program. There’s no better feeling than doing something that’s never been done before for your program. Our team is on that path and we made huge steps this year in the right direction. That alone should motivate us to get in the gym every chance and work towards that goal and that should be a part of each and everyone of our whys.
My second why is that I want to prove people wrong who ever doubted me. For those of you reading who don’t know volleyball is a “tall person sport.” I am 5’5 and people have laughed in my face when I tell them I play outside. It has made me even more driven to push myself to get better each time I step on the court. The worst feeling as an athlete is being told that you aren’t good enough due to something you can’t control. But you do control how you react to people doubting you. Being told all of this just makes me work harder in the gym to increase my vertical and use different skills when hitting against a big block. And if you are a smaller hitter you know there’s no better feeling than intentionally tooling the block.
My last and most important reason as to why I play is for all of those who have given up so much and pushed me to be where I am today. I have been grateful to have such amazing coaches and parents in my life who never doubted me and helped me become not only the player but the person I am today. Endless drives to late practices and training sessions that I will forever be grateful for. But most of all I am grateful for those who would grab a beach volleyball in the summer and ask my little 5 year old self if I wanted to bump the ball around. Neptune beach where I first picked up a volleyball will forever be in my heart and my head when stepping on the court each day. Someone always in my mind is my Uncle Mike who suddenly passed away a few years back. He was one of a kind and never said no to playing a crappy game of beach volleyball with me starting at the age of 12. I would barely be able to serve over the net and he would be so excited to step on the court with me and would always say “you’ll be better than me one day and when I ask you Gab to play a pickup game with me you better say yes!” Well Uncle Mike I only wish I could play one more stupid pick up beach volleyball game with you and hear you laugh when you ace my dad. He was someone who enjoyed everyday of his life and was always smiling and laughing. So when I’m super frustrated at myself or at a game I remember being on neptune beach as a little girl trying to learn how to serve over the net. I will forever be grateful for you Uncle Mike and you are forever in my heart each time I step out on the court.
So for all those athletes who are having a rough practice or game or even season, take a breath, remember why you do what you do, and remember to enjoy it!