Courtesy of Jake Moser
For some students, starting a new sport freshman year can seem daunting. Some may think it is too late to pick up a new sport, and others may think that they will be too busy with the new reality of coursework in high school. However, these concerns did not overrule junior Jake Moser’s decision to start playing volleyball.
“I started playing because my dad plays,” Moser said. “He wanted me to play, so I figured I would try it, and I have a lot of fun. It’s my favorite sport.”
Moser received the initial idea to start playing volleyball from his dad, and he soon realized that he really enjoys the sport. Having a family member who plays the same sport helps Moser since he always has someone to practice with. After playing on the WHS freshman team his first year, volleyball became a passion for Moser, and he quickly signed up for camps and a club team to improve his skills. He now plays for SMASH Volleyball club, practicing twice per week and playing in bi-weekly tournaments.
This past spring, before the coronavirus hit the U.S. and shut down all sports, Moser was planning on playing his second year of volleyball at WHS. Although Moser wishes things were different, he understands that canceling spring sports was the safest option for the school as a whole.
“I did play on the high school team, but sadly I [couldn’t] this past season because of the coronavirus,” Moser said. “I [was] really sad, but [the school had] to do what’s safe for everybody.”
Due to COVID-19, WHS shut down abruptly on Friday, March 13 and conducted classes, events, clubs and more remotely through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, meaning spring sports, such as boys volleyball, did not occur. It’s uncertain if volleyball will be permitted to play in the spring due to COVID-19 guidelines, but when it does, Moser looks forward to having a team to play and connect with.
“I like the team aspect,” Moser said. “I always love the team that I’m on, and it just brings me a lot of joy.”
As with any team sport, it is a group effort to succeed in volleyball. Moser enjoys this characteristic of playing with a team of close friends on the court. Moser is grateful that the leaders of the team, the coaches, are people he can look up to and help him make goals for himself.
“[The coaches] teach you how to grow and how to be a better person as well as be a better volleyball player,” Moser said. “All [of] my coaches are really good role models.”
Coaches play vital positions on every team, and while his coaches help him improve, Moser often practices on his own, even spending many of his free periods playing in the field house. Using time at school helps Moser maintain a schedule, destress and even focus more during the day. This extra practice helps Moser with both the WHS team and his club team.
“One of the things I really like about my club team that doesn’t really happen at the high school is [that] some tournaments we [get to] travel for,” Moser said. “We drive really far and stay in a hotel, which is really cool because you get to stay in a hotel with your teammates and hang out the whole day.”
While the WHS volleyball team does attend away games, they very rarely have to stay in a hotel for any of their games. This differs from Moser’s club team, and Moser enjoys the away tournaments because they are a fun time to spend with his teammates. Along with having fun, Moser’s club team performs highly at competitions, coming in third place in a large three-day tournament in Boston last spring. He notes that volleyball has taught him valuable lifelong skills.
“I’ve learned to be respectful, there’s a lot of respect in volleyball,” Moser said.