Mya Safary: Cascia Junior’s Life Lessons from Volleyball
Mya Safary, age 17, spent her Cascia Hall “Minimester” at TulsaKids Magazine. During the month of January, some Cascia Hall students have the opportunity to intern or shadow at a business that matches their career or possible college major interests. As we got to know Mya, we learned that she is a volleyball player with a local club team, so we wanted to learn more about her experience as an athlete.
TK: When did you start playing volleyball?
Mya: I started playing in fifth grade. I played on a school team in middle school, and I’ve played club volleyball since I was a freshman.
TK: Do you play other sports?
Mya: No. I used to play basketball and volleyball in middle school, but in high school, I knew I only wanted to play one sport. I wanted to keep improving, so I started playing club, which is five or six months of the year. School volleyball is only about two months.
TK: What do you like about volleyball?
Mya: I like that it’s a pretty aggressive sport. Not aggressive to other people, but it’s just really competitive. There are different positions, but they’re all equally important. You need everyone. Your main goal is to score, and it’s like a pattern (to get there). Each player has to know what to do within the pattern. There’s a lot of strategy.
TK: Did you have to try out for your team?
Mya: Yes. My freshman year, there were four teams. I made the fourth. The next year, there were five teams, and I made the third team. Now I’m on the second team, so I’ve moved up each year. My current team is made up of mostly players from last year, so we’re all really comfortable playing together.
TK: What do you learn from playing volleyball?
Mya: I think it’s helped me with managing my time. It makes me get schoolwork done faster because I know I won’t have time during the weekend to do it. I’ve learned to work with a group of people by playing on a team. And you have to learn to manage your emotions. You can’t get mad. If one person gets mad, it ruins everything. In the past two years since I’ve been playing and improving, it makes me feel that I can accomplish things and do better if I keep working at it.
TK: What’s the best thing about volleyball?
Mya: I love tournaments. When you play all day (especially if you win), you go back to the hotel as a team, and you know you’ve done well. You have dinner, and you know you’re going to do the same thing tomorrow. If you lose, you go home. It feels good to win.
TK: What’s the worst thing?
Mya: When your team is having a bad day or a bad game. There are times when you’re just tired, especially at a tournament where you may have played three or four games that day. It can be exhausting, and you feel like you don’t want to play at all.
TK: So how do you psych yourself up?
Mya: I stay motivated during long tournaments when I know we’ve done well so far. Even if you’re tired, you can focus on one game at a time and try to do well. The coaches also recognize when the team is down and may pull someone out to rest or re-focus.
TK: What do you like to do around town when you’re not playing volleyball?
Mya: I like to hang out with my friends. We like to eat out in Brookside at In the Raw, Charleston’s or Torchy’s. We also like GOAT and Prossimo if we go somewhere nicer.
TK: What are your plans for your future, and what advice would you have to kids about being involved in sports?
Mya: For now, I’m trying to figure out what I subjects I enjoy most at school, and what I might want to major in. I would encourage people to play a school sport or a club sport. It’s nice to be part of a team, and it helps you meet people. It also helps you with responsibility – to get things right and to be on time for everyone.