By Ong Yun Ting (17S03I), Member
The sound of the shrill whistle resonates through the air. Eyes focused, hearts palpitating, knees bent in position, anticipating the serve that soars through the air and –
the familiar sting of the ball as it sails up, a smooth parabola into the hands of the setter. As the setter prepares to release the ball, the spiker pulls back, takes two steps and on their third, pulls all their momentum upwards. Their hand swings forward into the ball that the setter has pushed far left. It sinks deep into the palm of their hand, before it is plummeted into the ground with a quick flick of their wrist. The point is scored. Nervous anticipation breaks out into wild cheers of “Raffles, ACE!”.
Volleyball feels very alive. The energy in each game is intoxicating. There is an exhilaration you feel after a great block, a great serve; the satisfying sound of the ball making contact with your skin, your feet against the ground with each step. No, volleyball does not feel alive – it is alive.
See, the thing about Raffles Volleyball is that it’s not just about experiencing the thrills of this beautiful sport – it’s also about the experience of being in a team, the experience of having a family right here in RI. Only six players are on court at any one point in time, but take a look around and you would find your other teammates, two very dedicated coaches, as well as two similarly dedicated teachers-in-charge, all cheering you on. Without a doubt, batch outings and dinners are a given.
Every training, shouts of encouragement would be given, from “good receive”, “nice try” to “get it back”. Even if a point is lost, giving up is not in our dictionary. Of course, it can admittedly be a bit tough initially: for many of the members, this would be their first encounter with the white-red-green ball (or any ball, for that matter). As such, we start out with great unfamiliarity and an inability to keep the ball alive in a rally. However, our team spirit soars higher than the frustration felt, as every member pushes on together to improve as a player, as a team.
To do this, we train on Tuesday and Friday evenings off-season, and have an additional training session during season. Even more than that, we have out of school trainings where we head to the OCBC arena to play. An average training session comprises basic drills and gameplay, as well as the occasional creative warm-up activities thought up by our coach. No match is ever the same, and there are many memorable moments in a 25-point game, but we typically follow the central dogma: dig, set, spike.
Every year, Raffles Volleyball competes in nationals, and being a developmental sport does put us at a disadvantage. However, that should not discourage you from joining volleyball – hard work and passion makes up for the lack of experience, and we believe that nothing is impossible. In fact, even after graduation, there is still the Old Rafflesians League where alumni come together to play volleyball purely out of the love for it.
So, we at Raffles Volleyball, welcome you, to join our family. Endurance, teamwork, and also discovery are not the only rewards at the end of this journey. The pride of being a Raffles Volleyballer comes with it too. It might not be the easiest of times picking something new, possibly something way out of your comfort zone, but we promise that we will be with you every step of the way. Welcome home.