McClanahan enjoys going to court
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Rhonda McClanahan's volleyball career began as a bonding experience with her father. Now it's year-round competition.
The 33-year-old McClanahan started playing after she graduated from Jackson High School, where volleyball was not offered. She played in a league with her father and his friends. In 1991, she became involved in the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Coed Indoor Volleyball League. She currently is playing a substantial role on the New Vision Counseling Spike Squad.
The team of three males and three females, including McClanahan's husband, DeWayne, plays each Wednesday night at the Osage Community Centre. The Spike Squad sat atop Division II for the first few weeks, but a lack of focus and teamwork became a problem for the team, which has suffered 12 consecutive losses and dropped to fourth place.
"We kind of have a disfunction in the team right now," McClanahan said. "We're not playing with our normal squad because we have a fill-in every game."
Injuries have sidelined some team members, and McClanahan was forced to the bench for two weeks following surgery.
"It was really hard to sit there and not play," she said. "But I still traveled to all the games to cheer my team on."
Now back on the court, McClanahan hopes to turn the team around heading into the league's tournament, which begins Wednesday. The group has finished second the last two years in the event, but it looks to regain composure and finish the season on top.
"We've always been a solid team," she said. "I just don't know what's going on this year. We've struggled in the tournament in recent years, but hopefully this is our year to win it."
McClanahan, who is also active in a women's league in Brazeau, Mo., will begin sand volleyball competition following the conclusion of the city league. In between games, she enjoys going to the gym with her playing partners for friendly matches.
"A lot of us get together sometimes on Sundays and practice," she said. "It's not as a team, but we just get together, pick teams and have a good time."
McClanahan delights in knowing her success is a result of self-discipline and athletic ability.
"Never being taught how to play and learning on my own is a great accomplishment for me," she said. "It's from my athleticism that I've learned how to play and play well. A lot of people reach a certain age and say they can't do it anymore."
On top of volleyball, McClanahan devotes much of her time to her 2-year-old son, Logan, and her job as a professional counselor. With a busy schedule, she finds the time to keep in shape and hopes that someday her family will enjoy the sport together.
"It's about friends and time away from everything," she said. "It's exercise two to three times a week, and it's fun exercise. We want to keep teaching our son what we know, and hope that volleyball is something we'll like to do as a family."