Written by junior rightside, Abbey Gitter
By now, many of you have noticed that our warm-up shirts have the word "Ohana" and it definitely has become quite the conversation piece since very few people outside our program know what it means. It is Hawaiian and means "family". But to Green Bay Volleyball, it's much more than just a word on a t-shirt. It is the identity of our program and it lays the foundation for how we interact with each other.
The spring of my freshman year we spent a lot of time talking about how difficult the transition from high school to college volleyball can be for freshmen. Particularly because of the timing of our season being in the fall, we don't have much time to get to know each other before we start playing together. And as with any team sport, but especially with volleyball, chemistry on the court is key. We decided the best way to make newcomers to our team feel welcome was to clearly communicate ahead of time the type of relationship we have as a program. We chose "Ohana" to represent our motto of family.
During the years we spend as part of GBVB, we see our teammates and coaches as more than just members of our team - they are family. Between road trips, practices, matches, clinics, and powwows we get to know each other pretty well. For instance, I know Coach Kirch typically chooses BP's Highlander Grogg brew to help energize her for morning practices in the spring. We know Whitney Schott loves sneaking her sister's McDonald's and tends to sleep with her eyes open on the bus. Brittany Groth eats peanut butter by the spoonful and sometimes forgets to rinse the conditioner out of her hair. And Sabrina Marunowski carries a can of Glade Clean Linen Air with her almost everywhere she goes. Those are just a few examples, but that is "Ohana".
"Ohana" means we take pride in our program and stand up for our teammates as we would our own sisters. It allows us to hold each other accountable, to work towards a common goal. We're not afraid to confront one another with constructive criticism because our relationship as sisters is less conditional than a typical friendship. It means that despite individual differences we respect and love each other. Above all, "Ohana" is knowing we would do anything for each other on or off the court.