Varsity volleyball is easy to spot. They race up the stairs with wet hair and a cold Starbucks in hand, desperately trying to make first period after a tiring morning practice. Playing is no minimal commitment. Girls are asked to wake up at 5 am most mornings, miss days at a time for tournaments, and stay after school until 7. Such a tormenting schedule is not easy for anyone, especially a first semester senior. Recently this demanding schedule and the class of 2010 have run into some conflict. After the team was scheduled to play in the annual Gahr tournament a day before the grueling ACT, players had to make serious decisions about which was more important.
Getting back to Marlborough around 7 didn’t seem unreasonable to most of the coaches. However, when one desires to be in bed by 8:30, the tournament is an impediment. When girls requested to miss the game, coaches asked why they couldn’t just change the date of their ACT. Answer: girls were ready to get it over with! Why should they continue to study for an additional month and a half to possibly win the school one volleyball game?
While most seniors attended the game, a few, 24 hours before, opted out for a relaxing day and good night’s rest before the exam. Angered by the girls behavior, for reasons including that the Gahr schedule had gone out in July, the athletics department and coach implemented strict penalties on the “ditchers.”
Although dedication, commitment, and honor are all important virtues that should be upheld by every Mustang, can we really blame our seniors for sitting this one out? How can the Athletics Department really say that one game in a tournament is more important than a test determining a girl’s future? And even if that is hyperbolic description of the ACT, why schedule a conflicting game in the first place?
Gahr tournament aside, as Marlborough girls, we live desiring an impossible level of excellence. We are instructed to take the hardest classes and perform just as well. While this might be attainable for a girl who has hours to work on her academia, our varsity athletes do not have this luxury – so where do they fit in? How are they expected to balance? Although being part of a team infers such dedication, it’s unrealistic for the program to think seniors will risk their first semester, and ultimately everything they’ve accomplished and worked for thus far, for a single volleyball tournament. Girls can’t miss class, lose sleep, and change ACT dates, while still being expected to attain that excellence in all areas of discipline.
Perhaps we should just take these conflicts less seriously. After all, since when did school sports become anything more than just playing for the love of the game?