Crowd Catcalls the Hockaday Volleyball Team


Photo by Sonya Xu/The Fourcast

During an away game, the Hockaday volleyball team endured constant catcalls from rowdy spectators in the stands.

Catcalls ringing in her ears, a member of the Hockaday volleyball team walks up to the service line, gritting her teeth out of anger. As she throws the ball up in the air, more shouts pound in her ears, making her smack the ball with so much force it flies over the net and slams onto the ground between two of her opposing players, now dazed from the impact of diving for the ball.

Recently the Hockaday volleyball team traveled to Pantego Christian Academy to play against the Pantego Panthers volleyball team. Soon after the team arrived, junior Sarah Held says that many rowdy teenage boys piled into the stands to watch their game. Although not all the boys remained in their seats, several sat very close to the service line on the court yelling inappropriate taunts at the Hockaday players.

“One of them rolled onto the floor next to me and pointed at my shoes and said, what are those?” Held said.

Hockaday Upper School counselor Judy Ware feels that the adults were partly at fault. Although she acknowledges that these were the student’s actions, she feels adults have a responsibility to oversee these events and keep students in order.

“They are there for the very purpose of making sure that their school is represented well and that there is no inappropriate behavior,” Ware said.

Photo by Sonya Xu/The Fourcast
Photo by Sonya Xu/The Fourcast

Adaku Ebeniro, Hockaday’s head volleyball coach since 2008, did not disregard the crowd’s taunts and insults. Promptly after playing Pantego Christian Academy, Ebeniro sent an email to the head of athletics at the school, expressing her disapproval of the rowdy spectators and letting them know Hockaday will not be returning to compete against Pantego Christian.

“It felt really good to know that she’s [Coach Ebeniro] here for us and she stood up for us in that situation,” Held said.

Ware strongly believes that the worst way to handle this situation would have been to respond to their insults because a response only ignites the crowd further.

“It’s just unbelievable to me what individuals will do when they are in a group. They feel empowered by it and they behave in ways that they wouldn’t ordinarily behave,” Ware said.

Despite the temptation for backlash, Held admires her team’s effort to ignore these insults and focus their energy on the game.

“It feels good to ignore them and show them they have no power over you; I think we did a good job of doing that the whole game,” Held said.

Ebeniro commends the girls for their concentration and believes this experience caused the team to play with more intensity, and it has also strengthened their team’s bond.

“There’s always going to be someone who is trying to push you and make you go down to their level, but they didn’t. They stood strong, and they just held their ground,” Ebeniro said.

– Amelia Brown – Asst. Sports and Health Editor –