BY JEFF FALK
So, exactly how does one foster, hone and develop this elusive thing called ‘team chemistry’? Spiritually, there’s no better way to come together towards the completion of a common goal than by aiding the less fortunate.
The Friday before the start of the fall season, the Lebanon Valley College women’s volleyball team spent a day of sharing and caring at Lebanon County Christian Ministries. The entire 15-member team and two coaches spent four morning hours cleaning shelves, packaging donated peaches and bagels, and sorting and arranging garments in the clothing bank.
Located at Seventh and Locusts Streets in Lebanon, LCCM operates a free-noon meal program and the Lebanon County food and clothing banks, in addition to other programs designed to aid the financially-challenged.
“I know for me, you only have to go out of your way a tiny bit and you can help a lot of people,” said LVC’s veteran head coach, Wayne Perry. “It’s something everybody in the county can do. It’s something everybody in the country can do. It doesn’t take any money. It just takes a little time.”
What made the Flying Dutchmen’s act of service even more altruistic was the fact that none of them hailed from Lebanon County.
“I think it will bring us together,” said Perry. “With this group, this year, we have almost everyone returning. We only have three freshmen, but I think it helped get them acclimated to the rest of the team. They had only known each other for four days. It gave everyone a chance to get to know each other.
“Undeniably, the timing was perfect,” Perry continued. “That first week is really important. But it gave us a chance to get away from the gym. It was great timing.”
That Friday wasn’t the first time that a LVC women’s volleyball team had volunteered in the community. In fact, the Flying Dutchmen assisted with the mailing of LCCM’s quarterly newsletter this spring.
“Personally, my wife and I give to the food bank all the time,” said Perry. “We give donations to the one in Harrisburg (Central Pennsylvania). Then we found out there was one in Lebanon. So we thought, ‘Why not do it in Lebanon County?’ ‘And why not get the team involved.’
“It was my idea,” Perry continued, “so I ran it by the girls and they thought it was a good idea too. We’re planning on going back and helping with the newsletter in January.”
The experience at LCCM also proved to be a learning experience for the LVC women’s volleyball team.
“We actually talked about it in practice, that yeah, how fortunate we are,” said Perry. “Giving back is a very good thing. We all have challenges in life, but nothing like the people who use their services.”
Partly because of their bonding LCCM experience, the Dutchmen are off to a flying start in 2010. But of course, they did have a good pad from which to launch, in the form of back-to-back Middle Atlantic Conference championships.
“This team is very competitive,” said Perry, whose club is currently 7-2. “They all hate to lose. They love to work hard. We only have a couple of tall players and we’re in a sport of big people. We just have to play a ball control game.
“Initially, one of our big goals is to get the three freshmen involved, because we have everybody else back,” continued Perry. “We wanted to get the three new people involved right of way. We wanted to get our freshmen on board. We want to make the playoffs and take another shot at the title, and keep playing well.
“I couldn’t ask for a better senior class. They’ve been on the floor for four years. It’s like having five coaches on the floor. I can just bark out orders from the bench and they do it.”