What is my Why? By FY Alex Frank

Close your eyes and imagine this: not so little 7th grade me trying to match bright blue cheetah spandex with my red tye-dye socks and a red jersey… oh and did I mention the extreme side ponytail? I’ve always been a kid that wants to make a statement, but as the years have passed I’ve focused my statement on being just like all the underdog sports movies… I want to make history (not just the first to be able to rock that outfit)IMG_6297.pngMy high school was never a top dog in our league, but my junior year we made it to the sectional championship, losing by a couple points in the fifth set. The disappointment of watching the other team run and hold up the banner we wanted so badly motivated my team to work even harder for next year. It was my senior year, my last year to make a statement, and we beat our rivals in 3 sets to clench our schools first sectional title in 41 years. That feeling when you realize you achieved something extraordinary is so moving, and all any of us could do was IMG_5657.jpghug each other and cry. I bet you have a movie scene playing in your head where a team does the impossible then runs and celebrates together, man what a feeling. I will always share that moment with my girls.

Trying to make a statement didn’t end there. In my sophomore year, my club team was one of the first out of our organization to make it to Nationals. Since then, my club has sent numerous teams and we’ve all embraced and represented our neon orange jerseys to put Syracuse volleyball on the map. Being remembered didn’t always have to be about the world remembering us though. In my senior year, our club team was so incredibly close we rose above anything and played together, beating teams no one thought we could. We had the chance to go to Nationals again, but more than that, my coach (shoutout RJ) said he would always remember us because we made him so proud. That feeling was better than Nationals; it made my “why” more than wanting to be remembered by our accomplishments… I also wanted everyone to remember how special our team was.

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My dad inspired this ‘want’ in me. Everyday in high school, I would walk through the doors and see his face in the hall of fame, but the most important thing I saw was that he was with his team. Achieving amazing accomplishments means nothing to me without having a team to accomplish them with me. That last point. That last kill. The only thing any of us wanted to do was dogpile and cry of happiness after the sectional game and after club ended, we couldn’t stop hugging each other and making plans to hangout.

I never thought I could find a team closer until I came to Geneseo. These girls are my best friends, my inspiration, and my family.  I couldn’t imagine my college experience or playing with anyone else. We depend on and play for each other, and in the end, I know it will allow us to achieve our goals.

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I play for that, I play for the people who believe in us, and I play with the most incredible team that’s going to be remembered.

 

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Why Geneseo-

 

Choosing what college, you go to is one of the first big decisions you make in your young life. To help make the right decision you go on many, many tours. I personally went on at least 15 tours. For most of my tours, I knew I wasn’t going to the school before it was finished. College tours went from being exciting to boring. I was hearing all the same facts at every school and none of the school felt like somewhere I belonged.

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The first time I toured Geneseo was in March of my Junior year, while the tour was like all the rest something about the campus was just different. While I did fall in love with the school I still wasn’t ready to commit. I returned to Geneseo October of my senior year. I went to go see a Geneseo volleyball game. The game I choose to attend was their senior night. I watched the seniors be honored and I heard them talk about all the reason they love Geneseo. During the game I watched the team demolish Farmingdale State and the team I saw on the court looked so close and happy to be there playing volleyball. After that, I knew Geneseo is where I wanted to be next year. I committed the next week and as I am coming to an end of my freshman year there is not a day that I regret my decision, even with the never-ending winter we have had this year.

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In one year, I have turned 15 strangers into my best friends that helped me create a home away from home. I knew there was something different about this campus the first time I visited it back in March of my junior year. After leaving my freshman year I finally know what it is. Geneseo is filled with the best people you will meet in your life. While my teammates are absolutely the best (and weirdest) people you will ever meet, there are a lot of others on the campus that are almost as cool. While Geneseo may be small it accomplishes so much such as being one of the top fundraiser in relay for life and winning countless SUNYAC championships. My freshman year gave me so many memories that reminded me why I chose this school and got me excited to see what the next three years has instore for me and my team.

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What the Game Means to Me – A blog by SO Grace Cergol

Volleyball. A noun. It is defined as “a game for two teams, usually of six players, in which a large ball is hit by hand over a high net. The aim being to score points by making the ball reach the ground on the opponent’s side of the court.” Yes, this may be the technical definition of the game, but to me it means so much more.

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I started playing this wonderful sport at the young age of 11. At that time, I did not realize how much of an impact it would have on my life 9 years later. This game has allowed me to express so many different emotions, learn so many great life lessons, and has let me form relationships that will last an eternity.

 

I would like to start off by asking you as readers, what is your outlet? What is the one thing that you rely on to make you feel sane? Well you can probably guess mine. Volleyball is my rock. When I walk into the gym for practice or a game, nothing else matters to me except playing in that moment. It is a place where I can let off steam from a stressful week, or a place where I can be my goofy self and just let loose. I know for a fact that as soon as I lace up my worn out sneakers and slide my sweaty/smelly kneepads on, my mood will instantly be better. This is my outlet, so I encourage you all to find yours. I promise there is no better feeling knowing that something can make you that happy and stress free.

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Secondly, this game has allowed me to learn so many amazing life lessons that I will take with me on my journey outside of the gym. While growing up, several of my coaches used tough love in their teaching strategies. At first, I thought that this method of coaching was not effective and I was not going to learn this way. When I reached high school, I realized that their tough love had changed me for the better. Over the years it has instilled a high competitive grit in me that is very easy to see when I play.

 

This game has also taught me to be an exemplary leader and just a better person overall. I have learned to be accountable for not only myself but also for my teammates. I have also grasped the true definition of class and what it means to be selfless. The Geneseo Volleyball family and I define class as respecting all aspects of the game by staying humble and having integrity. We also describe selflessness as no matter your role, serve the teams interest before your own individual interests.

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Lastly, I have been able to form the most incredible relationships that I will certainly cherish forever. I have been a part of about 5 different teams that I will always consider family. But I thought I’d touch upon the weirdest and craziest of them all, the Geneseo Volleyball Team. To say the least, we are all truly ourselves around one another and maybe sometimes too weird for others to handle lol. I know for a fact that I can go to any of them with problems I might be facing. If I’m down about something, they will definitely put a smile on my face. We also all cheer each other on when something good happens to us. Example, this past week Mary received a 96 on her Biology exam and we all texted back with responses like this: LET’S GOOOOO MARY THAT’S FREAKING AWESOME. So to say we are supportive of one another would be an understatement. I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to play with these girls and become so close to every one of them. So thank you Volleyball, I will be forever grateful.

 

As you can see, this is so much more than a game to me, it is a lifestyle. It has taught me how to be a well-rounded person, how to thrive in pressure situations, and of course form bonds that will last a lifetime. In 2 years, I don’t know what I will do having to be separated from the game, but I plan on giving back to the sport that has given me more than I could have ever asked for.

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Who is Geneseo Volleyball? A Blog by SO Abby May

When thinking about this question, I found the answer quite difficult to put into words. I think most of my teammates would say the same…

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This is because I believe that who we are and what we are cannot simply be put into words. It is something that is rather felt; felt deeply by each and every one of my teammates. Although I do not believe I can explain with the use of words the passion, support, love, and dedication of the amazing people of this program, I will surely try my best.

What are we all about?

We are eager.

I believe this word is all encompassing of what we strive for. Each and every day, we are hungry. We are hungry to get better. We are hungry to compete. We are hungry to win. Every time we step in the gym, we are mentally prepared to push ourselves and to push one another. We are excited to show everyone what we are capable of, and what we can accomplish together.

We are determined.

I see this within every one of my teammates. I feel this among us on and off the court. We all hold each other accountable to our highest expectations. Seeing one’s hard work and dedication makes another’s drive even stronger, which creates a never-ending cycle of hard work and perseverance. For us, seeing one another succeed is a powerful source of motivation. We hold such a strong desire to get better. Not just for ourselves, but for each other. I think that is what makes us so special. The selflessness of this team. The atmosphere we have created is cohesive, not individualistic. I am certain this is one of the largest contributors to our success thus far.

We are supportive.

This program is my rock. I know that everyone will have my back no matter what. I know I can go to my teammates with anything, and for that I am forever grateful. When someone is down, there is a multitude of people waiting to pick you back up. We are dialed in. We know when someone needs an extra word of encouragement, someone to make them smile, or even just a big hug. We go through a lot of big changes from graduating high school to going through college, so having such an incredible support system is something I cannot say everyone is as fortunate enough to have.

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What does it mean to me?

Being apart of this program brings me so much joy and gratitude. This experience has had an incredible influence on my life and development as a person, and I know it will continue to do so. So here is where I’d like to begin to thank all those who positively impact my life each and every day.

For those who have left the program, and for those who are currently in it, thank you for teaching me what is truly means to have a second family; for teaching me that I can be appreciated, supported, and loved by people that are not necessarily connected to me by blood. Thank you to all the family members of our program for your help in creating such a supportive and caring atmosphere. Without you all, we wouldn’t be where we are; we would not have such a strong sense of cohesiveness that is such an important part of our team chemistry.

I can only hope these words scratched the surface of explaining what Geneseo Volleyball is all about. Everyone involved in this program probably knows very well the feelings I am attempting to explain. Moving forward, I am beyond excited to see where we can go in my next two years here, as well as after my time here is up. I am ecstatic to say the future for Geneseo Volleyball is looking very bright, and I could not be more appreciative to be a part of something so extraordinary.

I love you all with my whole heart.

Let’s keep rockin’ GSUVB!!

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A Thank You Letter

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To my Geneseo Volleyball family,

I’m not even really sure where to begin, but I guess I’ll start with the sappy stuff. From the beginning of my experience here at Geneseo, I knew the people that I would call my teammates were all very special. I watched games and practices prior to enrolling as a student myself, and I got to see what Geneseo Volleyball is all about. In one word, I could describe it as a family. I was able to see my future in the program, thanks to the returning players, who were all so welcoming and kind. As I spent more time with my new teammates, I realized it was not just a team pretending to be nice to get a recruit to come to their school; they are actually ALL amazing women and role models. As my first semester and first season with the team continued, I have been lucky enough to call these incredible people some of my best friends. I am so grateful to have met them.

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Let’s not forget about the rest of my teammates, the equally as amazing freshman class. Some of us met during orientation, and others at Geneseo summer camp, but at this point I don’t even want to remember what my life was like without them. I’ll get into more detail later, but they’re pretty darn cool so you will just have to take my word for it right now.

Ok enough of the introduction, let’s get into the “thank you’s” (which is what we came here for)

Thank you to my returners…

for being my role models. I look up to every single one of you and I am so grateful to have teammates that are such kind-hearted, generous, dedicated, and strong women. Thank you for being like cool older sisters to me. I could talk to any of you about anything, and I know you’re always there to listen and give advice. On a less serious note, thank you for being the weirdest people I’ve ever known, in the best way it could ever be said. I will say this about our freshman too but there is honestly never a dull moment with you people. You have taken me in not only as a teammate but as a friend and I am so lucky to have you all. I am so glad we have become so close during this year. I love you guys more than Abby May loves whipped cream. (just so you know I REALLY mean it:)

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Thank you to my freshman buddies…

for being my best friends. I could not picture my college experience without my seven fine ladies beside me. I don’t know what I would do without Gabby’s singing, Erina’s laugh, (Abi) Moose’s snuggles, lava cake dates with Alex, Kiersten’s ski mask, all of Allison’s Buffalo things (sponge candy…YUM), and Bridget’s vacuum (shoutout to Kerrin too you rock). You could argue that we spend too much time together, and you would probably be right. You could see all eight of us walking to get food or to go to a game together on campus at any given time; but truthfully, you would probably hear us before you saw us. I am so grateful for all of the memories we’ve made. I won’t ever forget the FROSH Playlist, walks back up to south side, the excessive amounts of microwave mac n’ cheese, our favorite elf and sloth, 7-hour movie nights, Bachelor and Siesta Key Mondays, our red shirt, getting caught up talking in each other’s rooms for way too long, weekend brunches, and all of the post-it note jokes. Thank you for having such a positive impact on my life and for being some of the best people I know. I love you all.

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Lastly, a huge thank you to the rest of the Geneseo Volleyball family including Coach Hunter, Coach Kenz, all of our parents, supporters, trainers, fans, campers, and GSUVB alumni.

You are the reason we can do what we love, with the people we love.

 

 

Mary Bartkus