Coach Case asked if I might come in before the start of the 2021 volleyball season to speak to the team. I considered the invitation a great honor due to our friendship and the program being one of the best in the state. Jeff and I first met on the volleyball court playing against one another. I was on my way out of playing competitive volleyball while he was on the way in. We also played on a few teams together. As I shared with the Lady Jets, I preferred being on the same team!

When we were playing, I didn't think about Jeff eventually becoming the Hauser volleyball coach in 2002, and he likely would say the same; I didn't think about him coaching my two daughters, and I didn't think about helping out occasionally. Between 2002 and 2007, I watched Hauser volleyball teams lose in the sectional, several times 2-3 to Morristown, a school with an impressive volleyball history so evident when walking into their gym. During those years, I had the privilege of observing Coach Case's growth as a coach and his leadership in developing one of the best programs in the state.

Our daughter, Bethany, was on the first sectional championship team as a senior in 2008, and I was there to experience the emotions of that turning point in the history of Hauser volleyball. By then, HAVOC, Hope Area Volleyball Club, was in full force thanks to Coach Case and others, evident by the reserve team going undefeated in 2005, 21-0, under the leadership of Coach Vickie Tedder.

Coach Case also asked Bethany to speak to the team. She got somewhat emotional talking about what it meant to be a part of the program. Bethany's speech didn't focus on the three hour, 3-2, 2A match against Lawrenceburg but on other memories such as the friendships built with teammates, relatives attending the matches, support of the fans, and ...

Afterward, Bethany mentioned the attentiveness of the team and how they made her feel welcome. I shared noticing the same during my speech as well as their special team spirit due to several unique activities I asked them to do. And that is the main reason for this article. When watching a team, I am always looking for the team's spirit. During the North Decatur match, a key conference meeting, I was quite impressed with how every player on the court and off the court, even reserve players from the previous match, exhibited a uniting team spirit which I felt contributed to a very important victory.

I witnessed that same team spirit from 23 players on the Hauser roster, yes 23, in the third set of the Edinburgh Sectional. Waldron had already won the first two sets, and it appeared they would easily take the third set while leading 11-19. However, the Lady Jets, to their credit, found momentum, and team spirit was high and erupted when Waldron called a timeout trailing 25-24. But the comeback fell just short as Waldron prevailed at 27-25. Afterward, I noticed the spirit of wonderful sportsmanship by both teams. Later, I read with high interest an article in “The Republic” by James Pence which included gracious comments by Coach Case about our team as well as Waldron. I think those comments captured Jeff's understanding of his coaching and program journey.

What do I foresee in the future for Hauser volleyball? This team knows life is not always linear and found it to be very true when playing the last two matches of the season with a depleted team due to following coronavirus guidelines. Dr. Bruce Feiler stresses in his book, “Life Is In The Transitions,” that we can make the ups and downs of life more manageable when realizing it can be quite nonlinear.

This team should celebrate all of the major accomplishments this season, and I am confident there will be even more next season because I believe their team spirit will carry them on to being better as players, a team, and individuals.