Passion on High Display During China Cup Volleyball 2019

Ira Gorawora

From September 19th-22nd, the HKIS Volleyball teams brought their talents to the International School of Beijing (ISB), competing in their first tournament of the Volleyball season. This year’s tournament included familiar faces, ISB and SASPX (Shanghai American School Puxi), another international school in Beijing (Western Academy of Beijing), and of course, our very own HKIS Dragons. 
Representing HKIS were four volleyball teams: Junior Varsity (JV) Boys, JV Girls, Varsity Boys, and Varsity Girls. Our JV Boys, recovered in style after an upsetting loss to SASPX during the round-robin, dominating in the consolation game, 3-0 sets. Our JV Girls, who were deservedly lauded for enduring a nail-bitingly intense final against WAB which they eventually won with a close 27-25 final set, were crowned China Cup champions. Our Varsity Girls placed fourth overall, with a heartbreaking loss in the final set of the consolation game, going down 15-12 to hosts ISB. Finally, Varsity Boys managed to conquer ISB, taking home third place from China Cup 2019.
For many on the JV teams, this was their first experience traveling for a sports tournament, representing HKIS, a school that has served them for numerous years. With this, obviously, comes pressure and apprehension. Sarah Park (10), from the JV girls team, said, “It was my first time ever going away for a sports competition representing HKIS, it was a completely new yet nerve-wracking feeling.” From the JV boys' side, Nicholas Yee (9) explained, “Representing HKIS in Beijing felt like a big responsibility. We were the few that could change the reputation of our community in just a few sets.” Both Nicholas and Sarah, competing in their first China Cup, felt pressure on their shoulders and a sense of nervousness heading to Beijing. 
On the contrary, players like Nikki Chen (12), Varsity Girls captain with now four years of travel experience said, “ISB is a place we're really familiar with, and of course, it's always an exciting experience to travel to another school and represent HKIS.” 
Despite the polar opposite feelings of representing HKIS—given a senior veteran and two underclassmen experiencing their first serious, overseas sports tournament—they all share one core value in their views, thoughts, and takeaways from the recent event in Beijing. Talent, skill, and aptitude are imperative as the basis of any sports team, but the aspect of sports that is often overlooked or dismissed is the team's attitude, passion, and eagerness.
“This year’s China Cup was by far the most high-spirited, lively, and energetic, tournaments I’ve participated in. We need to use that same passion and energy in JPAC and the local leagues because it will really help us be successful moving forward with the season,” said Michelle Ahn (10), JV Girls captain. She emphasized that the camaraderie, zeal, and ardor when competing in such events, was on display during the JV Girls final, where the energy was infectious.
“The moment we won the finals was definitely the highlight of China Cup. We’d lost to the team going against us the day before, but the sweet taste of victory came when we defeated them 3-0 in the championships,” Sarah said. Our JV girls reminded us that without determination and resoluteness during the finals, the team would not have triumphed. 
In addition to Sarah and Michelle, Nikki remarked how it’s crucial the team maintain and retain this team spirit moving forward in the volleyball season. “In the semi-finals, we had a really close game against ISB... I was really happy seeing teammates who are always too shy to yell to finally be passionate and have that fire going during the game. It definitely got us going,” Nikki recounted.
In summation, our dragons fought hard and brave in their first tournament of the season; their first tournament playing in their newly-formed teams. China Cup reminded our teams of the utter importance of enthusiasm during tournaments like these, and has shown us all, athletes or not, that energy and ardor for whatever one does is invaluable.

 
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