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.