Grateful For The Opportunity

By Jeremy McDonald

PERRYDALE, Ore.–  Perrydale will find a way to be ready for their first games of the year this week with St. Paul and Crosshill Christian.

Losing four seniors and a fifth-player to transfer, it’s going to be an interesting look for the Pirates as they went to work Saturday afternoon in their home gym.  Preparing for their shortened season this Spring. 

Confident in themselves that they can adjust and be prepared for the Buckaroos and the Eagles right off the bat to start things off.  Reloading and retooling for a program that has been a 1A regular in the Volleyball postseason since 2010.

“I feel confident that we can do very well against them, but I’m very excited,” said Megan Freeborn.  “It’s just kind of normal.  Nothing really has changed and we all work really well together and we all work really well together.  Obviously, we’re going to have to adjust, but it’s been pretty normal.”

There’s some familiar faces.  Freeborn, Cody Lawrence, Elana Porter, Heidi Juarez to name a few.

Elana Porter (left) and Cody Lawrence (right) talking during Saturday afternoon’s practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

But for Seniors like Freeborn and Lawrence on the squad, it’s going to be weird not playing for the postseason this year after the OSAA’s announcement early in February that the sixth-week was being given back to the schools to use towards their own will for more local/regional games. 

Overall, though, through all they’ve gone through with the restrictions, uncertainty of if they’re playing or not, and not having fans in the stands this season; they are content getting an opportunity to get back onto the and playing with the girls they’ve been with for the past few years.

“Sports have pretty much been my everything since Middle School.  Terry (Newton) coached me in middle school and everything, so I’ve always been in sports,” starts Lawrence.  “So just being able to come back when I thought I was cut off after last year unknowingly, it feels really good to be back in the gym.  We’re just being able to have normal two-hour practices, but before we were having 45-minute practices with six girls, but it was incredibly fun.  I didn’t think I was going to get anything.  It’s really great to be back.”

“I’ve really enjoyed it.  These are my girls; I’ve been with them since I was in the sixth-grade.  It’s been really nice to be a part of this program and we’ve got amazing coaches and amazing staff, it’s really nice,” adds Freeborn.

It’s the little things that add up towards this moment as they went to work.  Roughly a dozen or so girls were beginning practice under Head Coach Denise Dickey’s guidance.  During Season 1, they scrimmaged against other teams.  Coming into Friday’s practices, pods of six for 45-minutes. 

Perrydale went 29-9 in 2019, finishing sixth in 1A and bringing home their second-straight trophy home from the State Tournament (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Hoping that they’ll get an opportunity to don the Cardinal and Black once this school year before some of them graduate in June.

“Getting some normalcy felt so good, and now doing this…we’re going to have a game on Tuesday, it’s feeling like more normal.  We’re getting to actually do things now and I feel a lot more hope now of having a Senior season,” Lawrence said.  “I think this year is going to be a big shock for me because even though we’ve lost a ton of good players, I was still hopeful that in basketball that me Elana (Porter) and Megan could lead the court and we were hoping to get something out of Volleyball.

“It’s going to be a shock for me.  A big adjustment, but I’m still excited.”

There’s still a hope that when basketball happens in Season 4, Mid-May into June, that there will be some resemblance of a State Tournament as traditional Winter and Spring sports.  The OSAA will hold off on making those sports season’s decisions further down the line.

But for now, it’s back to the task at hand.  Preparing for St. Paul and Crosshill Christian to start the Fall Sports season this upcoming week.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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