By Pat Turner
Seeing playing time as a hitter and being with her teammates is a special gift for the Brandeis senior. After all, a few months ago, the opportunity appeared unlikely after going through back surgery this past February.
Thanks to support from her parents (Harold, Belinda), teammates and Brandeis coach Maddie Williams that all changed.
“It’s going really well,” McCall said. “It’s really exciting. I feel so blessed to be out there again. It’s beyond special. My teammates and coaches mean the world to me. All the support brought me to where I am today. I’m probably not going to play in college, so this means everything to me.”
Although McCall wasn’t expecting to play, she remained involved with the team as a manager. However, that role was temporary. While going through the non-district season and early workouts, Williams noticed McCall’s passion and encouraged her to become a player again.
Williams did in a way McCall will never forget by sending a letter the day before Brandeis’ District 28-5A opener with Marshall.
“Sydney was on varsity last year and did really well,” Williams said. “I was watching her and could tell she really wanted to be on the court. When we found out there was a possibility she could play, I wanted her on the court for sure. We needed another hitter.
The letter was all McCall needed. The next day she was in uniform and even saw playing time. When she wasn’t playing, the senior was cheering her teammates.
“The letter was so special,” McCall said. “I really missed playing. I cried my eyes out when I got it. It brought tears to my mom and dad’s eyes, too.”
Her parents were more than thrilled with the news.
“It meant the world to us to see how happy she was when she came home and told us what coach Williams had done,” Harold McCall said. “We really missed seeing her play and compete. What meant the most to us was to see how happy she was. It is her senior year and she really wanted to finish up her high school career as a Bronco. She loves her teammates and really wanted to be with them her last year.
“We really want people to know how special of a gesture it was for coach Williams to do what she did. This is something Sydney will remember her whole life. It was a great lesson for the team that they are all part of the team and they don’t leave anyone behind. All the girls have been so supportive of Syd and she loves them all.”
McCall had battled through posterior spinal fusion because of scoliosis since her eighth-grade year at Garcia Middle School. Even though she encountered discomfort at times, it wasn’t enough to keep the hitter from playing.
“I got used to the discomfort, because volleyball was fun,” McCall said. “I got through it, but the pain started getting worse. I knew I was going have surgery eventually. I am doing pretty well. I do a lot of stretches to get ready.”
McCall is enjoying the progress Brandeis is making. Currently, the Broncos are in third place behind District 28-6A leader Clark and second-place O’Connor. After a hard-fought 3-2 loss to the Cougars this past Tuesday, tough matches are coming with Clark, Brennan, which is tied for fourth with Warren, and O’Connor. However, McCall is expecting the Broncos to handle whatever comes their way.
“We’re playing well this year,” McCall said. “Everyone is so close. We need to continue to stay focused on one match at a time.”
No doubt Sydney McCall will be loving every minute of it.