AUGUSTA — Last week, Emily Grady went to practice with the Gardiner girls basketball team. And when practice was done and most of her teammates headed home, she got ready for another with the volleyball team.

“It’s definitely tiring,” she said after the Tigers defeated Cony in volleyball 3-1 on Wednesday. “But it’s also fun, because they’re my two favorite sports.”

Grady wasn’t — and won’t be — the only one doubling up. The creation of the “tweener” season for volleyball, normally a fall sport postponed due to the coronavirus, meant it overlaps with other sports, both winter ones finishing up like basketball, and spring ones that will be getting started next week.

And for several volleyball players, that means playing two sports either back-to-back, or more likely, at the same time.

“Last week, we played both, so we had games and practices and we’d go from one to the other,” Grady said. “We had a volleyball game Thursday, and once we were done that we went straight to basketball practice.”

Grady said the schools are good about making sure the athletes get a chance to catch their breath.


“They definitely make it a lot easier, where they make the times different so you might have a little break in between,” she said. “They keep them far enough apart so we can make both.”

Still, doubling up can be a challenge, both from a physical energy and time management perspective.

“I know I had a little moment where I was like ‘OK, I need to get some more sleep,'” Grady said. “It’s a challenge, but me and Lizzy have talked about it. It’s definitely different, but we’ve made it work.”

Grady was referring to Lizzy Gruber, who led the Tigers to the central Maine basketball tournament championship while also practicing and playing for the volleyball team. She had three aces Wednesday in the victory over Cony.

“It gets pretty intense. Last week, we had two volleyball games, two basketball games, and I had my driving test,” Gruber said. “We had a lot going on, we had basketball practices after volleyball games, everything was just mixed up. It was hard to remember when to bring my knee pads and when not to.”

Kiara Henry, a senior for Cony, played basketball during the start of the volleyball season, and will play lacrosse during its end. Even with the workload, she said she likes being busy.


“It’s a really drastic change in speed,” she said. “(But) I’d rather have two sports back-to-back than nothing. I don’t really enjoy offseasons. It’s easy for me to come in and work out than having to go to the gym and work out.”

Henry said there was another positive that came with the sports overlapping.

“I went to a volleyball practice before a basketball game so I could get my nerves (out of the way),” she said. “I get so nervous before games, so I just use this (as a way) to relax and get my nerves out here, and then think about the game.”

Teammate Catelynn Fairbrother-White will soon split her time between the volleyball and softball teams.

“(It will be) a lot, because one practice is going to be right after another, so we won’t have an in-between to cool down,” she said. “As volleyball is leaving, softball will be entering. So I’ll just be staying in the gym for an extra two hours.”

Like Henry, however, Fairbrother-White doesn’t see a downside to being busy.

“I’m going to enjoy it,” she said. “I like staying physical, that’s the thing. I don’t like offseasons or in between sports, the two weeks that you would usually have. I don’t enjoy that. I try to stay having at least one sport (going).”

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