Rolling With The Punches

By Jeremy McDonald

STAYTON, Ore.–  Stayton Head Volleyball coach Ruth Palfenier knows a thing or two about being flexible as she, and her Eagles squad await the official word about the season to come.

As it stands today, official practice is still scheduled to start August 17, first official contest can happen on September 23 and Stayton’s first game being September 24 against Philomath, it’s a hectic team for the first-year Stayton Eagle Head Coach.

“As for myself, being a first-grade teacher, I have had to learn to be incredibly flexible. It isn’t my strong suit for sure, but I have worked really hard to learn just let things go and make the best of the situation.  I think optimism goes a long way in situations like this. People feed off of the emotions of others and I am working really hard to keep this unfortunate situation a positive one,” starts Palfenier.

“I have been so impressed with the flexibility of the girls! They have just been rolling with the punches. I can tell that they are bummed by the current circumstances but have had a great attitude about things.”

Being flexible is what Palfenier has been telling her team, control the controllable traits while rolling with the punches.  She’s gone with the Google Classroom approach in May, posting weekly workouts schedules and videos.

And once they got the ok for conditioning at the end of June, they went with the 10-person pods, upperclassmen’s with the upperclassmen’s and the underclassmen with the underclassmen, on the track before finally getting back into the gym.

“This seemed to work out the best for everyone and we had been having a great turnout each week. We just got into a nice groove, when we got the news that we now have to wear masks while working out. I know that wearing a mask while working out is not comfortable. So I opened up the conversation with the girls and their parents to see how they want to proceed with our new requirements,” said Palfenier.

Palfenier posed a question on the Stayton Volleyball page and privately talked to her team and they decided to go forth trying out an open gym session with the new face mandate, splitting up into two groups for one-hour sessions.

Palfenier admits that int’s not how she would imagine this year to go so far, but is optimistic for what is to come with the freshman group coming in and for the Seniors coming in to finish out their prep careers on a positive not.

“We are just rolling with the punches and doing what we can under the guidelines we have been given. I can say, it has been so nice to be with the girls again! Everyone really was missing that social interaction and being back together has been good for everyone,” said Palfenier.  “I have noticed drastic improvements in some of the players mental well-being from the beginning of the month to now. Just goes to show how much sports and the social aspect of it can have a huge role in a player’s life.”


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