Stepping Stones to Building All Time State Champs

Insight on this year’s Volleyball Intramurals club

Interviewees: Bree O'Dowd and Ellie Spencer


Volleyball Intramurals Finale

Aika Borba, Author

In March one of the most popular intramurals at Gibbons took place. Volleyball Intramural’s consisting of almost 90 players, and almost 50 on the wait list, has become a popular ritual for students. Run by Gibbons’ beloved Ms. Dubovick, who also supervised a Strength and Conditioning Intramural, and Badminton Intramural. Also a supervisor, the one and only Mr. Paulhus, who is also the advisor of Student Council, Stock Club, Politics Club, coaches Cross Country, and Badminton Intramural’s. He has also been supervising after school Volleyball since 2021.

The club is structured to teach students to independently organize volleyball games, but also aims to be an enjoyable club overall. Though Ms. Dubovick doesn’t have any previous experience with Volleyball, other than supervising last year, she looks forward to playing in a Beach Volleyball League this summer. Nevertheless, she enjoys watching kids be active out of school.

Information from this article was provided by new coming, and returning players Bree O’Dowd and Ellie Spencer. Bree decided to take up volleyball because she thinks “that it’s a really cool sport. And … it challenges you in ways other sports don’t. It’s a very supportive and, like, fun way to try something new.” “It all determines your teamwork and building that concrete to then be successful, ” Ellie adds. Both girls view volleyball as a stress relieving activity they find themselves looking forward to throughout the school day.

     Bree has been in the club both years she has attended Gibbons, and loved it both times. She encourages everyone to join. Ellie, was nervous to join but Bree heavily encouraged her to join, making it seem so fun. Though Ellie claims she joined not only to be with her friend, she took it as an opportunity to take up volleyball in a “low stress” environment.  She also saw it as a way to get involved with the school, it being something to make her feel as though she is part of the “Gibbons Community.”  Bree started off in a similar way to Ellie. Bree was encouraged by 8th graders as a 7th grader to join. She enjoyed it so much last year she rejoined this year. Part of the reason it went so smoothly last year, was because the school did the Volleyball unit in gym class prior to the club starting. So the kids had the rules of the game fresh in their mind, Ms. Dubovick claimed. This year it was a little messy because students needed to refresh their memories, even so it was a good season. 

Bree has been “dabbling around” with volleyball for about three years now. She started off through the rec programs and with friends. Ellie tried out volleyball for the first time through the intramurals. Both agreeing that it is a “great place to start.” Though you might be hesitant, intimidated by the players on your team, as anyone would be, on the first day, Bree and Ellie were slightly anxious, to get back into the habit of playing, to meet their team, to just be surrounded by people. However, they said that even if you don’t know anyone on your team the first day, you grow to befriend them over the season. Maybe you’re not even nervous about what team you’ll be on, but overall just have low expectations for the club given it’s just an after school intramural. So did Bree and Ellie. They expressed how it became so much more to them than they anticipated. They would walk in just to get it over with, then once they were on the quart they’d get so much more involved than they expected. They would get so competitive, start screaming and jumping, meanwhile having so much fun.

Bree and Ellie mentioned they get way more involved in each game than they expect, so I asked them to describe each other in three words. Bree says that “Competitive, Loud, and Excited” are words that represent Ellie on the quart. I can confirm that their team was the loudest of all teams. On the contrary, Ellie states that “Positive, Fun, and Amazing”/Talented, describe Bree on the court. The girls talk about how it’s grown to be a fun method of stress relief for them. It has become something they look forward to throughout the day, something to get them excited. Even if they’d only been playing together for about a week, when asked, they stated that they enjoyed each other’s company so much they called each other their favorite partners. They’ve also expressed how privileged they feel to even be a part of the program, given how there are almost 50 kids on the wait list.

Many aspects of Volleyball contribute to its popularity. Even as a beginner player, when asked “if, and why they enjoy Volleyball,” Ellie rapidly replies with “OMG YES! It’s so fun and everyone is just so nice. It’s a great laugh but also it’s like…” the experience being ineffable, Bree finishes her thought “It’s really fun. You get to know your team, and even if you’re like ‘Oh my gosh I’m not with anyone’ you build that friendship, and it’s really nice to get to know people from your grade or the grade below or above you. And again it’s just like really fun. And it’s not even, like, too competitive that you’re worried about it..” Ellie jumps back in and concludes saying “it’s definitely low stress.” So if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and are looking for something new to try, Bree and Ellie advise you try out volleyball. Take Bree and Ellie’s advice and just “Do it!” Ellie was also hesitant at first but she stresses how thankful she is that Bree really pushed her to try it. This year, to make it even easier to settle in, when you take their form when you first join you can suggest who you want to be placed with, so it’s even more likely you’re with a friend. Lastly, I’d like to say congratulations to Bree and Ellie’s team, the Razorbacks, for making it to the finals and landing 3rd Place overall! But also congratulations to the Badgers for winning 1st place!