‘Play Like Crazy’ spirit: Have fun, but play hard

I’ve been in the Play Like Crazy Tournament for a few years now, and either I’m better every year, or the team that I get put on is. Either way, I think we had the most exciting matches of the tournament, as we took second place on the Slammin’ Jammin’s. 

Coaches were Mariner volleyball players Maggie Koplin and Kayla Hutt.  Josh Rivers and I were the only alumni on a team of current Homer High athletes, but we meshed together instantly. We were first set up in a seven team round-robin style of tournament with one match to 15. Wearing small, retro Lady Mariner varsity uniforms, we looked ready to play ball. We were taking on a team assembled of high school students and I started out serving nine aces in a row. We finished this one quick, winning 15-4, building confidence for our next game. 

Our second opponents looked about the same as our last. We came out hitting hard in our front row, held down by our big men, Sam Reinert and Sheldon Hutt, who we set up for some huge kills. Even when the ball looked like it was going to fall, someone would keep it alive. We were all having fun but I could tell that we wanted to win it all.

Our next game was against another Homer/student team which seemed to be a common theme for the day. We traded points up to 15 until somebody had to win by two to finish it. I served up and scored two quick aces to remain undefeated, but we now had to take on last year’s defending champions, and also undefeated team, the Drill Team sponsored by Water Solutions. 

We only managed to rack up six points and looked to have met our match losing 6-15. We played to their game and couldn’t defend the kills. I rode the pine in our next game as we let our reserves win this one, 15-4. In our final game before our break, we found ourselves down early and then began to feel it offensively, killing nearly every ball and sharing the wealth. We won 15-6 and finally took a break after three hours of play. 

We came back to the gym and played the same team back-to-back in very close games, winning them both 15-13 and 18-16. This put us in the championship game against the only team to have beaten us, the Drill Team. 

Now you would think with the obvious youth and athletic advantage that we had over the Drill Team, the Slammin’ Jammin’s would easily take home the gold, but as they showed when we played them earlier, they could bump, set and spike with great location and power. 

They outscored us 15-8 in the first game, switched sides on the court, and whipped us again 15-12. We improved each game that we played against them but were over powered offensively and couldn’t make crucial digs. I never did see my silver medal.

The play Like Crazy community tournament is played in honor of HHS volleyball founder Alice Witte and her “play like crazy” mentality when she was head coach.

Norm Anderson is a student at the Kachemak Bay Campus and a freelance writer.