By Hannah Tan (18S03E), Captain, and Jordan Quek (18S06C), Member
“Nice receive!!!” The libero passes the ball along a smooth, high-arching trajectory to the setter. A perfect pass. The setter readies his feet and sets his hands in place, cradling the ball and sending it towards the antennae. A perfect set. The spiker pulls back, before running up and leaping off the ground at maximum velocity. With their left arm taking aim, their right arm swings back and, like a whip, lashes forward with raw power –
A perfect spike. Our opponents can only watch with dismay, as the ball is sent thundering into their side of the court at breakneck speed. Roars of “RAFFLES – ACE” can be heard, and the crowd goes wild. The team huddles and recollects themselves for the next point.
Did that get your blood pumping? If it did, then volleyball is the sport for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Haikyuu fan, or if you’re simply interested in volleyball, the volleyball family has a place for you. Whether you’re of a small stature or a tall build, there will always be a position you can play. Roles on the court range from liberos and setters to spikers and middle blockers, but like cogs in a machine, they all need to rely on each other to function and serve their purpose. Teamwork makes the dream work – that’s what Raffles Volleyball is all about.
Volleyball is many things.
Like almost all sports, volleyball gets you exhilarated – as you dive for the ball, or as you spike with all your might. That immeasurable feeling you obtain when you win a point, and as your entire team cheers “ACE!” But it is not just this technical aspect that makes Raffles Volleyball what it is.
Raffles Volleyball, is undoubtedly, defined by the team it has. Some may be put off by the fact that we are up against teams with so much more experience than us, and who have been in this sport for much longer – but no, it is for that very reason, that we see so much more reason to put in “blood, sweat and tears” for every single session of training, and every single moment we have on court.
It is that feeling of unexplainable joy you have when you are on court with each and every one of your teammates, knowing that they will have your back, and that you will have theirs, regardless of the outcome, that makes it so much more enjoyable. You will never fail to hear team members cheering one another on, spurring them on to continue trying, even when all odds may seem to be against them. Many of us may have started from scratch, learning this seemingly new and scary sport, but our conviction and desire for victory, is second to none.
It is this spirit, that perhaps makes Raffles Volleyball what it is.
To prepare the players for the Interschool National competitions (also known as A divisions) in April, we hold trainings on Tuesday and Friday evenings off-season, with an additional session during season. We also occasionally organize self-trainings at the OCBC arena, for the grind never stops. Every training session starts off with a quick jog, stretching and warm-ups, before progressing to free spike and other drills, and finally ending with a scrimmage. Exhausted players are a common sight, but they are also the players who have left everything out there on the court. Trainings may be tiring, but the highly encouraging and positive team atmosphere helps a ton. “Don’t mind!”, “We’ll get the next ball!” – your teammates will always remind you that you’re never alone.
But the experience in the CCA extends far beyond the sport. Lasting friendships are formed along the way through the hardships we face on and off the court. After trainings, we usually go for a team dinner and sometimes our coaches would tag along. It is marked by fun and laughter, and good memories simply fooling around. We would also hang out after school, playing ball. It is never a dull moment with the team. They were only strangers you have never met until months ago but before you know it would become your beloved family, people whom you can trust to be always there for you.
Apart from the A divisions, there is the yearly event: Old Rafflesians League (ORL), where alumni members gather for a fun day of friendly competition. There are also many eye opening friendly matches against other schools, providing us with the exposure we need.
Finally, how exactly would you know if Raffles Volleyball is for you, you may ask? Well, we pride ourself in being challengers; challenging ourselves every step of the way of our volleyball journey, and not letting anything get in our way. We believe; believe that hard work does pay off. And finally, it is passion – passion for this sport, that takes us through it all. So, as long as you want to be part of our volleyball family, and are willing to take a chance and try it out – why not?