THE NET PRODUCT FOR OCT. 31
On Oct. 16 the Knights Volleyball Team honored six seniors. On this night, as they stood proudly with their parents, the seniors were honored by their teammates and coaches. Senior nights for all sports are often emotional and are certainly special events, as are retirement parties or anything that marks the end of a special period of time.
Senior Nights mean a lot of different things to many different people. For some, it might mean the last time they are ever honored or accomplish something as meaningful as being on a team and completing a season. For others, it is simply a stepping stone on the way to a successful life, leading to college and even bigger challenges and goals.
That’s where our six seniors – Cora Grimm, Josey Jones, JoLee Walon, Peyton Kocher, Alexa Johnson and Emily Lancaster – come into this. Many won’t ever think of these girls again after they play their final athletic contest. That’s because life goes on in small towns, where each year more teams and more players come along. But for our seniors, Tyler Consolidated High School isn’t the end of special times. Soon it will be on to college, the military, or into the job market and a whole new beginning.
Life is full of challenges. And to these seniors, life will make no exceptions. There are more than two or three hurdles in a 100-meter race, and there are even more hurdles in life. Several hurdles have been crossed, but others await. These young ladies will succeed and excel. They have a great work ethic, incredible people skills, and can handle adversity that comes from life’s daily challenges. Living in a country that now contains almost 300 million people, they realize that the better jobs are for people who meet the challenges head on and defeat them, much like the way they handled the challenges of walking into a gym as freshmen and competing for positions against players much older than them. Four years of hard work on the volleyball floor certainly has paid off for them. Many years of competing in life will pay off for them as well. And I, for one, hope the lessons learned in high school athletics helps them along the way.
I’m often asked why I want to spend so much time in a gym with young people for the better part of every year. Why not use the weekends to go see WVU football games? Why not golf, take up photography, or spend more time on the river in the kayak? And those are fair questions. And I know that my peer group often finds it odd how this educator and coach can find so much joy spending six months out of the year with people many years his junior. The reason may seem complex or very simple. And that is all I have ever had, ever will have, ever was, or ever will be can in part be attributed to the impact that coaches had in my life. People like Mick Price, Ray Barnhart, Chuck Heinlein, Jim Willison, Bill Stewart, Ross Shuman, Don Christie and the list could just keep on going. And to this day their words of wisdom or caring actions are still special to me.
Coaches are special. And I hope that we have and will be special to our seniors. Seniors, enjoy the rest of your school year and enjoy your graduation. You’ve earned it. Enjoy your summer, you’ve earned it. Work hard in whatever you do beyond high school. You’ve earned it! And you’ll always be members of the Knights Volleyball Family. You’ve earned it.