Team more than athletes

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Spend any amount of time with someone on the K-State volleyball team and you will immediately recognize the aplomb, levelheadedness and benignancy that emanate from her and the joviality that seems to imbue everyone and everything around her.

Part of this comes from the athletes’ achievements off the court.

For instance, just last week, two players on the team were recognized for their academic ability.

JuliAnne Chisholm, the celebrated senior outside hitter, was selected for the Academic All-District VII First Team. With her 3.97 GPA in athletic training, pre-medicine, life sciences and gerontology, Chisholm is eligible for the Academic All-America Team. She placed on that team and the Academic All-Big 12 First Team last year.

Her fellow senior, Lauren Mathewson — the libero who is etching her name into the record book with a second-place spot in career digs at K-State, a tenth-place in most digs in a season at K-State and a fourth-place in career digs for the entire Big 12 Conference — also has prodigious talents off the court. With her 3.84 GPA in business administration, Mathewson was selected for the Academic All-District VII Third Team, a bump up from her Academic All-Big 12 First Team.

These are only two cases of the many in which a volleyball player at K-State has shown her outstanding ability elsewhere besides the court. It is rather amazing that they are so incredibly skilled in multiple facets of their lives, while many students are maintaining their rocky status quo by a slim margin.

Stellar as it is, this information is not necessarily newsworthy; it is not the first time that a volleyball player has excelled somewhere beside the court on which she has built a formidable reputation.

However, it also helps to argue the original point: The volleyball players embody the spirit of a student-athlete. Few other sports teams seem concerned with the first part of the word, while those on the team in question make a point to emphasize it and place it above the second part of the word.

Besides the academic achievements of the volleyball players, they also have earned a great deal of respect.

While there are reports of other athletes not acting with any sense of concern for the people around them, one never hears unsightly accounts about the resident athletes of Ahearn Field House. The members of the volleyball team show undue deference for others, and one can easily see their payback in everyday life.

These are only a few examples of how the athletes on the volleyball team make a positive impact in this world. While we usually focus on their talent atop the court, their true skills lie beyond the lacquered and gleaming floor. Correlation certainly is not causation, but it cannot be a coincidence that volleyball and maturity appear together so often.

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