For Love of the Game:

Getting down, for tradition

Sat, Apr 26, 2008 (2 a.m.)

Like a trio of playful penguins — or otters maybe, but certainly not their mascot Vikings — Valley High volleyball players Addissew Samuel, Carl Ajuziem and Russell McLellan slide across the hardwood on their bellies, pound their fists and yell, “Ace!” after their opponents fail to return another serve.

“It’s a tradition. We’re supporting the team and adding enthusiasm,” says McLellan, a senior on the team.

And although spring sports tend toward more contemplative pursuits such as track, baseball and softball, the three agree that volleyball adds excitement that an oval or a diamond doesn’t provide.

“It’s a power sport and people don’t realize it’s a power sport. When you spike it, if you are on the wrong end of it, you could get hurt,” McLellan says.

“What I like about it,” Samuel adds, “is if you hit the ball and the back guy isn’t ready, you can hit him in the face. That’s just the best.”

Maybe they’re a little more like their Norse mascot than their actions suggest.

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