A Letter to My Past Self—A Blog by FY Maddie McLaughlin

Dear Maddie from the past,

            Great news! As your future self can now confirm, everything you so fervently wished for has come true. Keep the faith, because before you know it, you’ll be opening your own private, high-end morgue and breeding mountain pygmy possums on the side. In addition, as a producer of The Bachelor, you’ll be chauffeured around in a stretch limo driven by Kim Kardashian.

APRIL FOOLS!!!!! Here’s the real one:

Dear Maddie from the past,

            I’m writing to you because I know you are at a particularly difficult stage of your young life; you are currently standing at a significant crossroads, unsure of the correct path to take. Well, I have some bad news: there is no path. The secret is that in order to get where you want to go, you must be willing to grab a machete and hack your way through the underbrush, creating your own path in the process. The good news is that sports are not gone from your life forever. Although athletics or physical activity of any kind may seem utterly impossible right now given your illness, you will play sports again. And I know what your next train of thought is: it’s too late. No! Don’t allow your fear of failure or inadequacy prevent you from reaching for the things you want most out of life.  Remember that we rarely regret the things we did do, but rather we almost always regret the things we didn’t do.

            With this in mind, keep taking those herbal supplements and drinking those green smoothies (that will continue into college; you have a bright relationship with vegetables ahead of you), and trust that no matter how confusing, painful, and wholly unfair it may seem, everything is happening as it should. Trust that you will recover, you will play volleyball again, you will run again, and you will live in the fullest sense of that word again. Furthermore, despite your incessant fretting, you will end up at a beautiful college with the distinct privilege of playing on an even more beautiful volleyball team. So do your best to live each day with gratitude, humor, and a deep sense of purpose. Treat each day like the unique gift it is, and understand that in the end, there is no such thing as failure. There is only experience.

            Yours (literally),

                                    Maddie from the future

P.S. When your coach assigns you a blog entry, please don’t wait until the last minute to do it…

10 Life Lessons

Playing a college sport is a privilege that an athlete should never take for granted. Sports provide a competitive outlet and life-long friendships, but most importantly lessons that encourage discipline and resilience.

Upon reading Adm. McRaven’s “My 10 Life Lessons From SEAL Training”, I was surprised that I was able to apply them to my life as a student athlete. McRaven is a retired United States Navy admiral who served from 1977-2014. He is a respected individual with a published book and a multitude of awards and badges from the military. In 2014, he recited the 10 lessons for a commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin.

I am not saying his 10 lessons are perfectly comparable. Navy SEAL Training is definitely much more grueling than being a student-athlete. However, I think these lessons hold true to anyone, especially to student athletes and my experience as one.

1. If you want to change the world, start making your bed

My mom has annoyed me with this one since I was probably tall enough to reach the top of a bed. Nonetheless as a college kid, you do not have your mom telling you to do that. There is something important about starting off your day right, or as my Chemistry professor “planting happy seeds”. This easy, controllable task can set a better tone for your day, and your life.

2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle

You cannot be successful without your team by your side. As someone that loves to be on my own and independent, being on a team has helped me learn the value other people. If I am ever feeling down, I know I can look to my teammates for the support that I did not know I needed. When the team is working together and helping each other out, we win. It is as simple as that.

3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers

The best matches are when Geneseo Volleyball plays with heart. Chances are the “size of our flippers” or our skill level, are relatively the same every time we play in a season. What makes us play harder and stronger is when we have a passion and drive like no other.

4. If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward

Even when we lost SUNYACs last year (2018), we keep moving forward. It does not matter how much we prepared for and how much work we put in, it is the way life goes. We are on to the next title, no need for complaining or talk of last year.

5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses (form of punishment in SEAL training if you fail to meet physical standards)

The pain of punishments build our inner strength. Serve or Sprint is a game that we hate because of this. Let’s say the rules for that day are everyone has to make their serve in a certain area AND in a row. It is likely that we will fail and face the punishment. Although that is discouraging, it tests our composure, conditioning, and inner resilience.

6. If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first

If you want to win you have to take risks in volleyball and in life. As a hitter, game point can be a stressful yet empowering situation. I will never forget the in-season game point I had against New Paltz when they passed an over pass. I had the decision to either hit it or step off the net to pass. The decision to be aggressive solidified the game win, and contributed to our undefeated SUNYAC season.

7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks

There are people constantly trying to bring you down, but “if you hope to complete the swim you have to deal with them”. There is no hiding from your opponents in volleyball. If you want to step on the court you have to face the other team. If you want to have an impact, rise to their level or take a seat on the bench.

8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in your darkest moment

There are times when you feel down in volleyball or in your outside life. I think of that week that happens every season where you have like 3 tests and 2 and a half hour practices every day. Your body is sore, your brain is racing with ideas, and you have a big tournament weekend. That is the time to do your best. Show the world that you can stay composed in this time and effortlessly allow your preparation and skills shine through.

9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your head in mud

Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed with almost any emotion, you can usually find me singing or humming. You cannot take life or the game of volleyball too seriously. A mistake, loss, or rut is not the end of the world and laughing (or singing) it off will only ease the blow. In addition to that, the calmness you demonstrate is contagious to the rest of the team.

10. If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell

In SEAL training, there is a bell that you can ring if you would like to quit. How easy my life would probably be if I could just quit school, volleyball and all the other extracurriculars I do? Easy, but not satisfying. I have learned that I live for the challenges and obstacles that provide these lessons for me. I strive to constantly better myself, learn new things, and hopefully accomplish something like a SUNYAC championship.

Can’t do any of it if you ring the bell.

What is Geneseo Volleyball

Hey everyone! It’s Mary Bartkus, a sophomore setter from Albany, NY (if you didn’t already know). For those who know me, you know I can get pretty sappy with things like these blogs, so I decided to switch it up this time around and talk a little more serious with everyone (but not too serious). I wanted to talk a bit about the basics of what Geneseo volleyball is and what it means to us as a team. Last year, we revamped what it meant to be a part of out program by setting what we call our Values of Excellence. We put so much time and thought into making a defined list of values we want to uphold while we’re in the gym, on campus, in the community, at home, and anywhere else in the world we may go. Here they are:








If you don’t mind, I’m going to go over and summarize what each one means to our team, but I’m kind of going to do it in my words. If you do mind, you can enjoy the lovely pictures I’ll have going along with it instead.


Our program holds ourselves to a high standard of how we present ourselves to our school, our community, our opponents, professors, officials, coaches, bus drivers, spectators, aka anyone who we come across in our daily lives as student athletes. Anywhere we go, in our full blueberry suits or not, we leave an impression of who we are on the people we interact with. For us, it’s unacceptable to fall below this standard. It’s as simple as holding doors, making conversation with your professors, thanking those who help us travel, and as hard as it can be sometimes, to accept an official’s call with grace, even when it doesn’t go our way.


This one always gets me pumped. We get in the gym every day, whether is in regular season, off-season, or spring season, ready to go. It’s easy to do when you know the work you’re putting in is for a greater cause, which for all of us is our program’s success. We are invested in making individual improvements every day as volleyball players and as people to excel in our game. Knowing that we believe in ourselves completely and totally, gets us fired up to get in and practice or go play a match.


Urgency is a value that we work very hard at to keep level. It’s a very difficult concept for volleyball players to keep consistent under changing conditions. Like most competitive teams, we love a challenge, and we rise to the occasion. Under different, maybe not as competitive circumstances, there is a tendency for many volleyball teams to fall short. Under our Values of Excellence, it is unacceptable to fall short of this value. This means all out defense, this means setting consistent balls, this means aggressive swings. Of course, it’s impossible to have perfect outcomes every time, never mind even most of the time. But urgency is the will power, the want to strive for these things, the want to compete in any situation at hand.


This one is pretty easy for us if I’m going to be honest. I think this is a value we all shared even before getting to Geneseo. I have never felt more comfortable with a team ever before these past two years. Selflessness to us is giving to the team before you give to yourself. Have a bad day? No problem. You know your teammates will be there to pick you up. Still having a bad day? You reach out to someone else. Helping others can help heal yourself too. This goes for life and on the court. Everyone is doing their job, not for the personal success or the stats. Everyone is here for the team and the team’s goals.


Accountability is often what drives us when we get in ruts or when we’re having a bad day. We go into every practice with a goal and we say it out loud. That way your teammates can hold you responsible, and since you said it out loud honey you better be accountable for yourself. It’s such a collective team effort for us. It’s not just a coach or a captain keeping everyone in check, it’s everyone, together.



YAY. We made it to happiness. Everyone on this team at some point was that little girl who just wanted to play volleyball. Looking up at all the big girls playing saying “just wait until I can jump that high/swing that hard/move that fast/etc.” It was a cool part of growing up and realizing that volleyball is something that makes me very very happy. No matter the situation, good or bad, I know that physically playing and getting lost in the moment is like no other. We recognized this common feeling and made it one of our values. Everyone believes that we play our best when we are caught in that “vibe” moment, and that stems from the genuine happiness of playing the game. It’s really special.


Family is our little add-on value, you could say. We have our ups and downs, but we come back together, because we are each other’s home away from home. I wouldn’t ask for it any other way.

So that’s it for my take on the Values of Excellence. I really hope you enjoyed and learned a little about who we are and what we stand for as Geneseo Volleyball.

My Legacy- A Blog by SO Bridget Lougen

Ever since the first day we stepped into Schrader Gymnasium at Geneseo, each of us have been slowly building our legacy for when our time at Geneseo is up. The legacy we build in the gym is part of the legacy we leave on the campus as a whole. While it would CQ2R5703.jpgbe amazing to leave here with a school record, an All-American title, or any other high honors, those are not necessary to leave a long-lasting legacy in our program. To me, what’s important is to leave behind is something much simpler and more meaningful.

Legacy in simple terms is how you want people to remember you. When I finish my volleyball career here, I hope to be remembered for two things…

My Love For the Game20181020_045_VBall.jpg

No matter if I am on, or off the court, whether it’s during a practice or a game, I want to be remembered for always appreciating the game. I want to be known for for not taking any second of volleyball for granted. As simple as it is, I want to leave a lasting impression of how much the game means to me by emphasizing how much of a privilege it is to wear Geneseo Volleyball on my back.

Being Apart of Something that has Never Done Before

Coming into a rebuilding program as a freshman means anything can happen. Fortunate enCQ2R5827.jpgough for me, I came into a team that seemed to be willing to do anything to positively impact the program. In my time here, I have already left my legacy by being a part of the first Geneseo Volleyball team to go 9-0 in the SUNYAC and host the championship tournament in Schrader Gymnasium. The legacy I want to leave includes being a part of the team that wins the first SUNYAC championship wearing Geneseo on our backs.