Friendly get-together: Truman volleyball relishes chance to work out

Bill Althaus
Truman coach David Gardner, center, visits with his volleyball team following a practice/conditioning in the high school gymnasium.

The good natured sound of laughter, combined with the maximum effort of his Truman volleyball team, put a smile on coach David Gardner’s face as his girls wrapped up a practice/conditioning session in the high school gymnasium.

As his team concluded the session, did a COVID-19 no-touch high-five to end practice and began tearing down the equipment to store it away, no one seemed to want to leave.

“It’s like that after every practice we have,” Gardner said. “When you take something away, it’s hurtful, and all high school athletes have had something taken away, especially those who compete in the spring.

“You can tell how much our girls appreciate coming to practice and getting to see each other. For some of them, it had been months since they had seen each other, and while we’re getting in a lot of work, I think that the simple fact that they are able to see each other is as important as anything.

“When you get good effort, and can tell they are so happy to be here, it’s just a great situation for everyone.”

Off to the side of the court, a trio of seniors, right side hitter Laila Tatum, libero Nicole Davis and middle hitter Kylie Gharst are already talking about the next practice session and how much they are anticipating a return to the high school gym.

“I love it here, because I get to interact with my girls, my teammates, and that’s something all of us have missed,” Gharst said, as her teammates nodded in agreement.

“We’re seniors, and we know this is our last chance to play together and no one really knows what’s going to happen this next school year so we’re going to make the most of any time we have together.”

Added Davis: “This is our last ride together. Before we started practicing and conditioning it had been three months since I’ve seen some of my teammates and we are loving this.

“All you need to do is watch a little bit of practice to see how much fun we’re all having. And we’re having fun while we’re working hard and that’s just a win-win situation for everyone.”

Tatum believes the energy everyone is experiencing at practice can translate to good things once the season starts – if it starts.

“Can you tell how excited we are to be back?” she asked, sporting a smile that lit up the gym. “I’m so excited – we’re all excited. We’re not a team, we’re a family. And when you get to spend time with your family – after you haven’t seen them for several months – it’s special.”