Zebra Tales
Daisy '24

New Year, Fifth Form Me

I’m a Fifth Former now—a junior! The school year has just begun, and things are already in full swing. The start of this year was quite different from my prior years at Groton. We have returned to normalcy. Finally!
My junior year began with volleyball preseason. I came to campus a week before classes started, along with all the other fall sports' athletes. This year, we are back to pre-COVID traditions, so all the athletes were in assigned dorms, living with their teams for a couple days. Preseason dorm life consisted of long conversations in the common rooms, funny photos, and lots and lots of laughter!

Out of the dorms, we had two daily practices, along with either team meals or team bonding activities. We had an alternating schedule for our morning practices. For two of the mornings, we did ballet! Groton has a large dance studio in the Athletic Center with the sweetest woman, Genevieve, as the instructor. We learned first, second, and third positions and how to plié and jeté. Though we are definitely not ballerinas, it was interesting to pretend for a couple days. (It was also pretty funny to get some videos of us clumsily imitating Genevieve’s graceful movements.)

On the other mornings, we participated in conditioning workouts with Coach Ojeda. We warmed up in the gym with some dynamic stretches and quick sprints, and then moved downstairs into the weight room for our training. Coach Ojeda instructed us on proper form and how to get the appropriate range of motion with each exercise. The team had a fun time working out together and hyped each other up. It was very uplifting to see!

For our afternoon practices, we came geared up to play volleyball. We always started with a warm-up. What came after warm-ups varied. On some days, we began with skill-based drills. The objective of these drills was to make sure everyone had the basics down (because we had some new players) and to be a good refresher for those who hadn’t played volleyball in a while (I was guilty of this). On other days, we did communication drills, which allowed us to build some chemistry on the court with each other. One of the communication drills I found particularly compelling (mainly because it was hilarious) was the baby drill. In this drill, each team is given an extra ball they must hold (their baby) while attempting to pass the actual ball over the net. The goal is to pass the baby off to your teammates without dropping it as you pass the volleyball over the net. It takes many tries to get this multi-tasking done correctly. The drill is challenging, slightly chaotic, especially rewarding when you succeed, and a good laugh for everyone!  

As a team, we had a lot of meals together, and we also had team-bonding activities. My favorite was when we spent an hour together in the Art Center making posters to decorate the gym. I learned that a lot of the girls on the team are amazing artists, and they showcased those abilities with their designs. The posters came out beautifully!

Preseason week ended with the making of the team rosters. This year, in a surprising turn of events, I made varsity! It was extremely exciting for me, and it’s even more exciting to think of all the progress and improvement I’ll make playing with the varsity team. I’m so excited for the rest of the season!