Life on The Sidelines: One of Eastern’s volleyball players shares her experience from the sidelines.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my good friends and ask her about her fall season.  Kaylyn Ziegler plays for the Eastern women’s volleyball team.  She is a second-year; however, this was her first season where she was able to play. 

The last time Ziegler stepped on the court was Feb. 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.  She stopped playing a month before the pandemic due to a concussion.  So, Ziegler was amped to play for this year’s fall season.

After an intense preseason, volleyball season started, and Ziegler was able to step onto the court for the first time in a year and a half.  Ziegler explained she was playing on a team where almost everyone had never played at the collegiate level.  Since the team does not have any seniors this year, the juniors were the only experienced players and they only had one season of experience under their belts. The freshman and the sophomores were stepping onto the collegiate court for the very first time.

Ziegler explained how she was getting a significant amount of playing time and was loving every second of it. However, Ziegler explains how she might have been playing too much.  In just the first month of the season, the Eastern Eagles had played 18 matches with Ziegler playing for nearly most of each game.

Ziegler explained how towards the middle of September, she began to feel a terrible pain in her left foot. Despite the pain, Ziegler pressed on.  Ziegler said, “I had the mentality that it was essentially play until you can’t.”

And that is exactly what she did. Unfortunately, after Sept. 28, Ziegler was no longer able to join her team on its path to victories.  The doctors explained how Ziegler overworked herself and developed a stress fracture. She was no longer allowed to play and was instructed to wear a boot. This boot was, as Ziegler put it, “quite annoying.” She shared how the boot itself was painful, caused her to run into things, and she even fell down the stairs.  Ziegler went from playing volleyball every day to hoping her boot would not prevent her from making it to class on time. 

Ziegler was once again sitting on the bench.  Back in 2020, Ziegler was reduced to the bench due to a concussion and was restricted even more because of the pandemic.

Now, just as she got back on the court, she was reduced to the bench once again. Ziegler was frustrated and upset.  She had been eager to play the sport she loves, but she was back to life on the sidelines.

Despite the frustration, Ziegler decided to have a positive mindset towards her circumstance.  She explained how she was able to learn a lot by watching her teammates play, was able to be the loudest in the gym, and was even able to give her teammates pointers to help them win their games. 

Though Ziegler wished she could have played the whole season, she was thankful for the experience because she was able to become a better player by watching her teammates from the sidelines. 

On a happier note, Ziegler was still able to help bring her team to victory in the MAC Commonwealth Championship.  And as Ziegler said, “Life on the sidelines is not all that bad. I had the opportunity to learn more about the sport and scream my head off to support my fellow teammates.”