The Reserves: Waiting for Their Chance To Play

A Team is More than Just Its Starting Players

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The Reserves: Waiting for Their Chance To Play

Kobi Harris, senior, often has to wait for his chance to enter the game as a reserve forward.

Kobi Harris, senior, often has to wait for his chance to enter the game as a reserve forward.

Rachel Litvin

Kobi Harris, senior, often has to wait for his chance to enter the game as a reserve forward.

Rachel Litvin

Rachel Litvin

Kobi Harris, senior, often has to wait for his chance to enter the game as a reserve forward.

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Driving the ball up the court, the senior starting forward receives the ball from a cross court pass, just skimming past the fingertips of an outstretched defender. Making a quick move, the ball flies from one hand to the other as if on a string, flying past another defender. Thundering down the paint, eyes are locked on the rim. He launches off the ground, colliding with yet another defender, sending both nose diving to the ground. The whistle sounds as the referee signals for a foul, play stops and everyone holds their breath. The talented forward comes up holding his ankle. Gremicing, he hobbles over to the sideline. Needing a new, healthy, player to take his place on the court, the Head Coach studies his bench. Finally, after what seemed like decades, the Coach points to a senior bigman. He jumps to his feet and bolts to the scorers table to check into the game. His presence on the court during a varsity basketball game sends the crowd in a frenzy. He might not always see the floor very often, but when his name is called, he is always available to fill in. His role has many names, but the most fitting is reserve. A team has many reserve players, and while they may not acquire as many playing minutes as the starters, their contribution to a team is invaluable.

Situations like these happen all the time in the world of sports. But reserves do more than just affect in game situations. They also make a difference in the practice gym. Scott County head basketball coach Billy Hicks said “Even before you get on the floor, they make (practices) so much better when you are going against good guys everyday, it makes (the team) that much better.” He explained, “Basketball is a long season, four months, and it takes an entire team to get to the end. We have an old saying: The strength of the wolf is in the pack. The reserves make that pack.”

Being a reserve has an affect on the players as well, as they have to learn to accept their role that they have been given. Senior forward Kobi Harris explained, “If you are a strong-egoed person, you really have to work on that because coming off the bench can be a little difficult, trying to get minutes.  If you don’t have the right mindset for it, then you shouldn’t have taken the job.” Senior Guard Cam Fluker had a different take on what it takes to be a reserve. He stated, “It’s hard, the person in front of you always has a set position and you just want to out work them in every way possible. In practice, after practice, in a game, anyway possible.” Cam continued, “I feel like I’m the guy that brings the energy to the game. I’m the spark plug, the enforcer. I bring all the energy.” They both wanted to share one specific message with those who might not be able to see what they provided on any given night, “Don’t sleep on the bench, there’s some dogs out there that nobody ever sees,” said Kobi with a chuckle.

It’s easier to see this mentality of ‘next man up’ on the basketball court, but the idea of the reserve is a very universal term in the world of sports. Reise Leahy, a sophomore on the volleyball team fills this role perfectly. She stated, “Supporting the team has never been a challenge— on and off of the court, there’s a passion and a will to win.” Riese continued, “There’s just as much passion and stress and excitement on the bench as there is on the court, and it’s so rewarding to everyone on this team to score a point and to win a game, whether they played or didn’t. We’re always itching to get onto that court and play the game we love, but yelling and cheering on the bench is a great way for us to be involved in the game.”

Every sport has its fair share of stars. These stars put in hours of blood, sweat, and the cliche tears to get to where they are, and have earned the opportunities that they have been given. But we can’t forget about those who also sacrifice just as much everyday and rarely get recognized. These players, the fittingly dubbed reserves, not only assist in a stars rise to fame, but also make or break their respective teams. In any given sport, those teams fortunate enough to have these players, are almost always successful.