When I first started at The Democrat and had to come up with something every week for a weekly column, about 75 percent of the columns I wrote were about volleyball.
Until I came to work here, volleyball was the main focus in my life. I played at least five days a week and worked out or practiced almost every day to try to get better. My senior year at Milligan College was spent probably about 30 percent in the classroom and doing homework, 20 percent social and 50 percent in the gym doing something with volleyball.
In a sense, I look back and regret spending so much of my time on something that would ultimately become a leisure activity for me and not spending nearly enough time on what is now my career.
At the same time, I’m thankful for the work I put in, because it’s now opened another door for me on the coaching side.
A couple months ago, I accepted a volunteer assistant position at Cumberland University with the new men’s volleyball program.
While the working part of the job hasn’t really kicked in yet, I’m beyond excited for what’s to come with the program. Director of volleyball Kathy Slaughter is committed to building a competitive men’s program to go with the women’s program, and the men’s volleyball head coach Scott Barbe is doing a wonderful job of making that goal a reality.
I’m not going into the first season expecting Cumberland to shock everyone and win the conference in its first year as a sanctioned program, however, when I say I expect the team to finish in the middle of the conference with a team comprised almost entirely of freshmen, I don’t say that lightly.
One of the things I’m most excited about is the atmosphere at Cumberland University. I’ve heard since I first got to Wilson County about how great the staff is at the university, but I didn’t entirely appreciate it until I came on board and was immediately welcomed into the Cumberland family.
With that said, I truly hope people will come out next year to watch the new men’s volleyball team. I can promise it will be a unique experience, and I know the team we’ve put together will fight hard against some of the top NAIA teams in the country.
Jacob Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.