Return To Volleyball Good For Students’ Physical & Mental Health
Aug 17, 2020, 11:15 PM | Updated: 11:20 pm
SPANISH FORK, Utah – High school volleyball is back on the court, and players and school administrators at Spanish Fork High School said returning to the game is good for both the physical and mental health of students.
“Coming back has really been a relief for everyone,” said Trinity Benson, a senior and varsity volleyball player at Spanish Fork High School. “I’m so happy we’re back to school, playing sports.”
The abrupt end to in-person class last spring was a difficult transition for Benson, and the following several months of limited interaction weren’t much easier. But when you’re facing a new opponent and there’s no end in sight, Benson knew it helps to have a team.
“I’ve definitely taken school for granted,” she said.
After months of being apart, Benson’s reunion on the court at Spanish Fork High School to start her senior year could not have been better.
“I’m just super excited and I think it’s just going to be a great year,” she said. “I just hope it lasts.”
Spanish Fork High School Principal Matt Christensen had a front-row seat to Friday’s volleyball game. For him, the return to the court and the classroom went beyond caring for the student’s physical well-being.
“Having kids in the building. Having these adults around them, a teacher in front of them. Working with kids so we have a pulse on what’s going on. We love it and we feel like it’s the best thing for kids,” he said. “Mental health is not going to take a backseat to COVID and take a timeout.”
But even with the benefits of returning, Christensen knew concerns remain heading into an unusual school year.
“There’s a lot of anxieties we’re having because we don’t want to do anything that would shut things down,” he said.
“There are definite concerns. We’ve already had a couple scares with our soccer team and our cheerleaders,” said Valerie Benson, head coach of the girls’ volleyball team. “There’s a definite scare and we’re always telling the girls, be careful. Be careful where you’re at. Be responsible. Because the last thing we want is to get shut down and not be able to be in the game and play.”
Friday’s game against Ridgeline High kicked off at 10:30 a.m. The gym was far from reaching capacity, but several masked fans sat on either side. A coach wearing a shield sprayed players’ hands with sanitizer as they came off the court as the Dons beat Ridgeline 3-0.
“There’s a different feel. I mean with masks and all that stuff,” Benson said. “Everybody’s willing to do it just to be able to be in the game and play.”
But with a new schedule, new rules in place and a team to support her, Benson was cautiously optimistic Friday’s win will be the first of many this year — on and off the court.
“Being back and being with everyone it’s really good for mental health and physical health too,” Benson said.