By Jeremy McDonald
PERRYDALE, Ore.– In the world of 2020, you got to make do with what you are dealt with.
Nonetheless, Monday afternoon at 4pm and on the football field at Perrydale High School with their mask on, the Pirates Volleyball team were making do with the hand their dealt with amongst the Coronavirus Pandemic.
It’s weird to think they lost four starters from their sixth-place 2019 team, three to graduation and one to transfer, but they had four returners on the grass returning from the year before. Those four are Elena Porter, Megan Freeborn, Heidi Juarez and Cody Lawrence.
“We’ve just been playing together and just knowing where to be and I think we’re just been good playing together. We just really enjoy the sport and we just get out there because it’s fun,” said Lawrence.
Call it a unique situation that they found themselves in. It took them a while to grow use to the mask indoors initially, the lungs were burning for being out of the gym. But here they were scrimmaging twice in the last week.
Outdoors, on grass and a slightly smaller-than-normal court than they are use to. Through it all they’ve rose to the challenge with the uncertainty if there will be a season here on the other side of the New Year.
“They’re adjusting surprisingly well; it doesn’t seem to hinder them too much. Earlier when we started to do some Open Gym’s it did because they were so out-of-shape. It was warmer and that kind of thing, but they’re adjusting pretty well,” said Head Coach Denise Dickey.
“They just want to be out here playing and I don’t think they care what it takes to get out here. I just want the girls to have some sense of normalcy.”
Dickey pointed to their scrimmage with St. Paul the week before where neither team wanted to leave. Each team just wanted to play, play and play some more until the coaches stepped in to say enough for the day.
It had the feel of Summer League even though in a normal year they’ll be making the push for Redmond. This time last year they had just clinched their third trip to the Final Site in the last seven years when they swept Mohawk 25-23, 25-14, 25-19.
Monday was another opportunity to play, get reps and even get better. The sun sank behind the mountains to the East as the lights at the football field buzzed to life as if it was a Friday Night game.
Gameday uniforms were on as were their mask, masking their visible breath from the cold November air on the scoreboard side of the football field. Girls were communicating, talking as they were setting and rallying.
Lawrence was the leading voice on the Perrydale side, leading the squad whenever she was on the field.
“For the past years I know I’ve had good leaders like my two sisters, the twins (Kenzie and Sydney), they’ve been really good leaders so I haven’t had to step up too big. So just learning from them and all the players ahead of me, it’s pretty easy to know when to step up and talk,” said Lawrence. “I think it just comes natural just seeing my sisters do it before me just to step up and lead the team.”
The Pirates got four sets with Country Christian before ending the little scrimmage Monday evening, the first belonging to the ‘JV’. The next two were ‘Varsity’ and the final were a split between the ‘JV and Varsity’ lineups.
With the uncertainty of the world we’re living in that is 2020, any sense of normalcy can go a long way in staying center through it all.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald