Everything that rocks about being an Ithaca College Volleyball Bomber

It’s more than just free stuff

Growing up, most of us played at least one sport as an awkward preteen, but not many of us continue playing this until college. We’ve all read about the corrupt sports world and articles on why people decided to give up. A lot of students quit their sport by senior year because they want to focus on their major or profession.

We rarely hear about the positive side of college sports. I am a current collegiate volleyball player and I take immense pride in being able to say that. There are so many great things about being on the Ithaca College volleyball team:

You are immediately a part of a big family of friends

Yeah, it’s cliché, but there is truly no greater bond than the ones between my teammates. They always say chemistry is a key essential to performing well in sports. If we don’t trust each other, you can forget working together and winning. When a team genuinely likes and trusts each other—both on and off the court—you’re destined for success. I’ve been fortunate enough to be on this team at Ithaca where I consider all my teammates to be my best friends. After spending so much time together, that’s a lucky thing to say.

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Those crazy adrenaline rushes and the pictures that capture them

Volleyball is a game of momentum. There’s nothing quite like those high-intensity games where every single point is like the National Championship game-winner. Being on this team allows my teammates and I to experience all those highs, and lows, of winning championships, falling short in playoffs, digging against the best hitters, and making the game-winning point. Even better? The photographers who capture all of these indescribable moments of victory, defeat, excitement, and adrenaline.

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Doing the Impossible.

This goes hand in hand with the adrenaline rushes, but to me, there’s nothing more satisfying than doing something another person said you can’t. Making history, changing the direction of our athletic program, and making a name for yourself and the team is one of the best things volleyball offers. Last season, my team won the Empire 8 Conference Championship and went on to compete in the second round of the NCAA tournament. We were doubted, we were challenged, and we made it the furthest our program had gone in ten years. And come on, everyone loves rooting on the underdog, right?

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Beating the Freshmen 15! (And sophomore and junior…)

Let’s face the inevitable: don’t work out in college? Say hello to your newest addition of 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. pounds. Being on the volleyball team literally forces you to workout everyday so you can keep off the weight. It’s a fun, easy way to stay in shape and work out with your friends/teammates who will keep you motivated and on track to reach your fitness goals.

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Your Mentors with look after you every step of the way

As an Ithaca College volleyball player, you’ll cross paths with people who will impact your life to make you a greater athlete and person. Your head or assistant coach will serve as a mentor in the game and off the court. Your managers, team Sports Psychologist, and any volunteers will expand your game knowledge and provide a light-hearted attitude to keep the game fun when things get tough.

Another privilege? Having college athlete trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. Hurt? Sick? Desperate for an ice bath? The Athletic Training staff has got you covered from the time you step onto campus to the day you graduate. Want to get stronger? Faster? Improve your lifting techniques? We’ve got coaches for that. Best part? No need to pay for a doctor visit or personal trainer—these people will take care of you to make you the best you can be!

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The perks of free stuff

Yes, being on the volleyball team also means you get free stuff. Division III athletes obviously do not receive the same kind and amount of free things as Division I athletes, but, we do get free gear, equipment, food and hotel rooms. Trust me: the stops at Panera and the hotels are like a slice of heaven after staying and eating in college dorms for so long. Hello showering without flip-flops.

The perks of new stuff

Every year, as the season approaches and rolls around, playing volleyball also means new things. I’m talking sneakers, uniforms, kneepads, spandex, ankle braces…the list is endless. And really, no one has ever said ‘no’ to new (and yes, sometimes free) things. Out with the old, in with the new.

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The trips and tournaments

They always say you never really know someone until you travel with them, and this is true. Traveling with teammates can be eye-opening, but incredible. Weekends consist of tournaments and that means long bus rides filled with games, movies, and gossip. It also means being able to explore the east coast together, experience new places together, and spend time with each other off the court doing things other than volleyball, which makes being on the team so worthwhile. You thought playing was fun, but just wait until you take tours of New York City, go apple picking in Boston, or take a team trip to a lake house.

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An immediate friend group in freshman year

This one gets overlooked, but think about it: Without volleyball, what would be the likelihood of crossing paths with my best friends in college? Very low because of our differences in majors, interests, and extra-curriculars. It’s also extremely helpful coming into college for the first time and having a consistent friend group who will always be there. You’ve been through a tough preseason together, you’ve experienced highs and lows in the game, and you’ll know each other better than anyone else coming into college. Having your niche right away and something familiar will make your transition into college much easier.

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The obvious one: Doing what you love

If you continue volleyball throughout college, obviously it brings a lot of joy into your life. If you’re passionate about it, why quit? Why stop? Find that thing that makes you happy, that makes you forget about everything else, and stick with it. You get to spend your days practicing in the hot gym, preparing for tournaments against top teams, and working out with your best friends. Sure, some days you might be tired or sore and the last thing you want to do is show up to practice. But the most important thing to remember is that there are hundreds of other people who would kill to be in your position and play for Ithaca Volleyball, but never had the opportunity, so give it your all and do what you love.

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Volleyball brings me the utmost passion and joy. I am blessed to be a part of such an incredible program and team and couldn’t imagine my college experience without it. The day I finally step off the court to retire my shoes and #2 jersey will be one of the hardest of my life – but until then, I’m gonna enjoy the ride because there’s truly nothing better than being an Ithaca College Bomber.

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