The boys’ volleyball team has not won any city championships in recent years, a fact emphasized by the empty walls where the banners would go. In the 2009/10 season, the senior boys’ volleyball team didn’t win a single game. Last year however, they won three and lost four, sharing the same record as MGCI’s junior team, their best showing in years. This year, the senior team is currently 1-3, having won their first game Tuesday against Lawrence Park.
Techno music was blasted down in the gym as Lawrence Park, the home team, continued their warm up in high tempo. In the moist change room which floors creaked and smelled of dirty socks and underwear, Garneau spirits were just as high. The boys shared laughs poking fun at the quality of the changeroom and at their own team member: a classy fellow who forgot his shorts and proceeded to play in his boxers. This energy translated into a victory for the team, and to coach Nitsu, it was “the best volleyball [she’d] ever seen [them] play this season.”
Just looking at their first few games, the season did not seem hopeful. From the highly competitive Woburn tournament and their first home game against Riverdale (which no one knew about until the Riverdale boys showed up at Garneau’s doorsteps at 2:30 pm),the team kept losing to a combination of disorganization and unpreparedness . Having the team selection delayed due to confusions about a varsity team already caused the team to have just one week of practice before their first game, and the results showed. Serves were inconsistent, passes were erratic, sets were rarely legal, and hits were absent. “I doubt we could even beat a middle school girls’ team,” one of the players suggested.
So why is boys’ volleyball so unsuccessful at Marc Garneau? Well first off, there is a shortage of experienced players who try out. Of those who tried out this year, only two played volleyball outside of school and both did it recreationally. Three members of the team are also novices who never actually played an organized game.
Second, the team is simply unmotivated to win. Practices are held whenever a majority of players can attend and the coaches are not busy. Also, classic disciplinary actions are not taken for players that demonstrate a lack of commitment.Going into the Woburn and U of T tournaments, coach MacIntyre told the team that they weren’t expecting results. They were to have fun and improve by “being in an environment with teams that play a higher level of volleyball.”
This is a stark contrast to many of the teams in Scarborough. It’s common knowledge that volleyball in Scarborough is taken more seriously and played at a higher level than other regions.The senior boys volleyball team at Sir John A MacDonald have two players that play for clubs, one of whom plays at a provincial level. Most of the other players also have experience playing in competitive settings. Two hour practices are held four times a week, a frequency that can double when there is an upcoming tournament. Players that miss a practice without a valid reason are promptly benched for the next game, since there are no shortages of committed players capable of taking a starter’s spot.
It appears that, to win more games, Garneau could acquire more club players, host more practices, or just take off their pants.
If you wish to follow the team’s progress, scores and standings can be found here.