Exploring the life of a multi-sport athlete

Senior Bethanie Giniewicz took on the task of playing many sports throughout high school, here is her journey

Volleyball is a game of teamwork and friendly competition. While this is a team sport, volleyball requires independent dedication and hard work from each teammate. 

Senior Bethanie Giniewicz has played indoor volleyball all four years of high school and beach volleyball for the three years that it was offered as a CIF sport. As a freshman, Bethanie joined the volleyball team to find a community of girls she would remain friends with throughout high school. Although volleyball is a highly competitive sport, the girls always find a way to enjoy time on and off of the court. From early morning tournaments to late-night bus rides, the girls have made lasting memories and wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world. 

“I came into this sport in freshman year, it helped me meet a lot of new people, it also helped create lasting friendships,” Giniewicz said. “I honestly fell in love with the sport itself. It is so much fun to be a part of a team, and to have somebody who is always there for you, as well as have a group of people to rely on and make memories with.”

The goal of volleyball is to score the most points while working together to pass, set and spike the ball onto the opponent’s side of the court. As a team, they work to have a maximum of three touches on the ball before they return it over the net. Sending a free ball (when the volleyball is sent back onto the other side by a forceful platform pass with both arms, launching the ball high into the sky, creating endless possibilities for return) over the net is never ideal. 

On the court, Giniewicz plays the position of an outside hitter, which means she has the responsibility to pass up any balls flying towards her that are out of system, as well as to score the final points of a set. These points are secured by a well thought out plan, first the approach —  right foot first, then the left, afterward, in quick succession her arms raise above her head, her feet lift off the ground and with all her strength and precise planning, she spikes the ball over the net into an empty space on the court. Points like these cause her teammates on the sidelines and the fans in the stands to erupt with applause and cheering.

“When you turn around and see all your teammates screaming and jumping and yelling there’s a lot of excitement,” Giniewicz said. “It motivates us to keep that momentum going for the rest of the game.” 

Giniewicz always made it a goal of hers to have high energy on and off the court, whether she was playing in the game, or cheering her teammates on from the sidelines, her voice was always heard. It is important to be loud on the court, otherwise, people won’t know whose ball is who’s, and what the next move is. Another aspect of volleyball that she prioritized was her timeliness, she was always ten minutes early to practices and tournaments and never thought twice about staying late to work her skills, or help coaches put equipment away. 

In beach volleyball, each team is a pair of two people, Giniewicz’s beach partner this past year was junior Elizabeth Fawcett. Both of the girls made it onto the varsity team, earning themselves insane bragging rights, and the opportunity to add a letter to their letterman jackets. Their team name was ‘the Betty’s’ due to the fact that they both had ‘beth’ in their names. Varsity coach Sierra Cavalleri was the creative brains behind the name. 

“Being Bethanie’s beach partner was an amazing opportunity for me to grow in my athletic career, I am so glad I was able to share the season with her,” Fawcett said. 

Beach volleyball, while having the same name, is a completely different game. As the name describes, beach volleyball is played on seaside courts; on the sand, in the sun, and with an incredible view of the crystal blue waves. 

Giniewicz explains her appreciation for playing at this location, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all sports ended but since this could be played outside she was able to continue. She loved being able to play volleyball and interact with friends outdoors. 

“It was really hard for me to accept the fact that I couldn’t play volleyball because of the close quarters you have to be in with teammates, but as the pandemic went on and we learned how to be safe — I took every chance I could to get back outside and play again,” Giniewicz explains.

As senior year comes to a close, Giniewicz wants to give aspiring multi-sport athletes some advice. She would recommend that everyone take a study hall as long as your schedule permits it, as it will definitely help you manage your time and get work done. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, in sports, classes, or just around campus. Lastly, she says that the most important aspect of a successful team is to make it feel like a home, that way it ensures the best chemistry on and off the court, the best friendships, and the best memories to last a lifetime. 

Fawcett also wanted to share some advice to all athletes, and that is to be encouraging to teammates, whether you are winning or losing. It is always better to have the memory that your teammates were cheering, and not that you were losing, Fawcett explained. 

In Fawcett’s words: “By the end of your high school athletic career it is better to have more good moments with your team to remember, rather than to focus on the amount of losses or wins.”