“Volleyball at ERHS in 2020: Mission Unblockable”


JH Volleyball playing Long Beach last year before Covid-19 changed the sport as we know it.

Isabella DeCunzo, Staff Writer

Volleyball is a beloved sport here at East Rockaway. Every year, dozens of girls try out for a coveted spot on one of the teams. And it’s no shock that girls work so hard to be on one of them, as the JV and Varsity teams have won a plethora of awards and championships. 

In addition to the senior high teams, there is also a junior high (JH) team. The JH team is a good way to find out if you want to continue with volleyball, and tryouts for this team continue to bring out a large population of athletes. There were so many middle school girls trying out last year that the athletics office made 2 teams for the East Rockaway JH. They want student-athletes to improve by taking in as many people as they can and then helping them to play their best. Unfortunately, this year is not going to be the same as last year–not by a long shot.

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, all public school sports teams are not allowed to start playing a season until after Christmas/winter break. If that date doesn’t change, a JH squad will be formed in January consisting of only one team of no more than 20 girls. It’s the same for JV and Varsity. These rules may deter some inexperienced athletes from trying out, since they may fear that they don’t have a shot on a 20 person team.

For right now, we are having after-school workouts to help get us athletes back into the volleyball groove. That grove looks quite different this year. Here are some of the changes that we are facing during this pandemic:

  • We are not allowed to play 6 on 6 because we need to be socially distanced. 
  • We also must wear our masks the whole time just like regular school. This is much worse though because we get out of breath easily and then can’t regain our breath as quickly. 
  • After you touch anything other than a volleyball you must use hand sanitizer to keep everything sanitized. 

I understand that we need to follow these rules to prevent getting or spreading the virus, but it’s more than an inconvenience. It’s a drastic, depressing shift. The saddest thing about this year in volleyball is we can’t do “hands in,” a quick group gathering in which all players place their hands in the center while a captain/coach leads a quick pep talk. We need to be socially distanced while doing it and everyone is not as enthusiastic about it as we were doing it last year. We also can’t do the “pump it up cheer” at all because there’s no way we can do it socially distanced. 

At least we can still play a little bit, even if it’s not the same. It might be different from last year, but we need to adapt to our new life. We will do so by learning new skills and practicing so that if there are tryouts in January, everyone has a fair shot at making the team. And most importantly, we’re having fun. Quarantine has been stressful and boring for everyone. Now that we are getting used to our new normal, it’s nice to have our sports back so we can let loose and have fun. Sports are our escape from the stress of life. Even being able to try and play volleyball this season has been so fun and a great way to forget about our everyday problems. There may be some bumps in the road, but once you drive over them you can see the beauty that is standing in front of you. After Hurricane Sandy hit our little town back in 2012, we kept repeating “We will Rebuild the Rock.” We’re going to hang on to that motto again in 2020.