Sportsmanship wins on the volleyball court.
After the Wootton Patriots-Rockville Rams volleyball match at Rockville High School, Rams head coach Sean Pang took his brother Mark home. Mark, a sophomore outside hitter for Wootton, had just played an impressive match serving and hitting against his older brother's team. In my role as Wootton's coach for the past six years, I have a bit of perspective of what it's like to compete against, then go home with a member of my immediate family.
For three years my son Jacob played middle hitter for Wootton's rival Richard Montgomery High School. In the days leading up to the match, we would cautiously talk about how our season was progressing, though with an undertone of simmering competitiveness that made the Wootton-RM match that much more significant. We had our allegiances to our own teams, but what about the rest of our family? Do they hope for a win-win? The final score does not allow that. Whom do you cheer for?
There is a simple answer: You cheer for family.
Cheer for a competitive match. Cheer for good sportsmanship. Cheer for opportunities for growth and lessons learned. Cheer for individual and team performances edging closer to full potential.
Sean and Mark represented that ideal on the Rockville court on Wednesday evening. Coach Pang's Rams and Mark and his Wootton teammates competed well on the court.
A different family also played on the volleyball court on Wednesday evening in a show of solidarity and support after the sad news of Monday's passing of a fellow student-athlete. In our thoughts were the family, friends and classmates of Rockville lacrosse player Michelle Miller. That loss, stinging as it is, offered us perspective on the value of family, friends, and our fellow competitors.
Wootton won a volleyball match 25-10, 25-12, 25-17. It was an opportunity to compete and grow and to learn a few lessons about volleyball and life. And, in a small but not insignificant way, sportsmanship edged family and solidarity closer to full potential.
The Patriots take their season record back to their home court for a Friday, April 12 match against Paint Branch. First serve is scheduled for 30 minutes after the end of the 5:15 pm coed match.