In my three and a half years at Yale I have never had the desire or the inspiration to write an article for the News. It’s no offense to the writers of the paper, who do an amazing job running the Oldest College Daily; it’s just that I have never had anything pressing on my mind that I wanted to share with my fellow Yalies. On Saturday afternoon, however, I witnessed an event that inspired me, and I wanted to share it with everyone who did not have a chance to see it firsthand.
This weekend, the Yale women’s volleyball team destroyed the Princeton Tigers in a best-of-five match for the Ivy League Championship. The team won in three straight games, but it was far from an easy win. Credit to the Tigers for giving Yale a stern test, taking every one of the games down to the wire. But that is where the credit stops.
The Bulldogs were able to grind out tough wins in the first two games after being behind early in both games. They played a flawless third game, in which Princeton did everything to find a win and breathe some life into their dejected fans, who did not get out of their seat once while the Yale fans stood the entire game. In the end, however, Yale outplayed, outworked and out-coached the Tigers to take home Ivy League Championship honors.
I have had the privilege of knowing many volleyball players every year I have been at Yale, and I have gone to every match possible, when my team was not traveling. I have seen some amazing play from our teams over my four years, but I have never seen such inspiring play as I did on Saturday. Every one of the team members, even those who never saw playing time on the court, all had a look of determination and intensity that I rarely see in college sports. They knew they were going to win the entire game, and it was evident in the way they played. This intensity on the court was coupled with play that was filled with fun and joy.
Every year I have watched this team, I have been amazed at how much fun the team has when it plays. After every point they win, the girls react with euphoria as if they had just won a conference championship. Anyone who has been to a game can relate to my observation of the team’s demeanor on the court. It is this extreme joy and pleasure while they play, among other things, that has brought them such success this year and in every previous year. I was inspired by their play and honored to be a Yalie, especially when I looked over to the Princeton section and saw the depressed looks on their faces when they realized they had been dominated in their own gym, a very dismal gym if I may add.
Something else that inspired me today was the presence of so many Bulldog fans in the crowd in a hostile Princeton environment. I had to be at Princeton this weekend for an Ivy League captain’s meeting and, as much as it pained me to miss the Princeton vs. Yale football game — it was a bad weekend all around for Princeton athletics against the Bulldogs — I decided to leave New Haven early to catch some of the Ivy League volleyball championship game.
When I walked into the gym at the start of the second game — I was late because of delays on the train — I was blown away at the number of Yalies and Yale fans in the crowd. Parents from all over the country had traveled to Princeton to see their daughters bring home a championship. I expected to see the parents in attendance, but I was surprised at the number of Yale students in the crowd. The usual diehard crew team fans were all in attendance as well as a number of the baseball team’s members, some golfers and some runners, as well as many other students who wanted to support a team in bringing home a championship. The Yale fans were a “seventh man” for the team, and I know they fueled the team’s determination.
As a fellow Yale athlete I was inspired this afternoon. Seeing a fellow Yale team bring home an Ivy Championship was inspiration to me and should be an inspiration to every other Yale team as well as the student body. The team represented our institution with poise and class, and for those who were not able to observe the event firsthand, I thought you all should know and share in my pride to be a Bulldog.
Congratulations to the volleyball team on a great season and for bringing home an Ivy Championship.
Colby Moore is a senior in Davenport College. He is the captain of the men’s golf team.