Rachelle Watson was two years old when she began playing catch with her mother, Rene.
When mom tired of it in a few years, said Rachelle, she was shown how to entertain herself by throwing the ball onto the roof and catching it when it rolled back down.
The West Valley High senior has been having a ball ever since.
Unlike those who hone their skills on an endless procession of year-round select teams, Watson approaches sports differently.
“If you’re looking to play in college, do as much as you can in the off-season,” Watson said. “I’m not.”
She plays volleyball in the fall and softball in the spring for the Eagles, lettering with the varsity since her sophomore year. Summers, she plays on a Valley Girls Softball League team coached by her dad, Ron.
WV volleyball coach Carol Preston can attest to her impact in that sport. Watson, a setter and outside hitter in volleyball, played a key role in last week’s upset of Cheney.
Watson’s defensive responsibility in that position was to cover the area behind the front row blockers.
“Rachelle got us into some amazing coverage,” said Preston. “Cheney tipped and tipped the ball and she got to it. Rachelle is just an athlete.”
Call it natural ability or killer instinct, Watson has a feel for sports. She also plays for the fun of it.
“I’m staying in shape, I like the friendships I build with my teammates,” she said, “and I’m a competitive person.”
Watson began playing volleyball as a middle-school seventh grader. Her sophomore season she played on a senior-oriented team that shared third place in league.
Last year the team was young and this year the team has even more new players.
“We’re doing really well for not having as much experience,” she said.
Softball has been a different matter. Her dad got her into competition at age 7. Playing shortstop for him the past five years, their Valley Girls League team has won its division four out of five summers.
West Valley qualified for state in both her sophomore and junior seasons. Watson was an All-Frontier selection in the outfield both years.
“All the WV kids were shortstops,” said Watson of the reasoning behind her position switch.
Now, however, Watson is concentrating on the Eagle volleyball team.
“It felt good beating Cheney because we played so hard,” she said. “We played together like we haven’t all season.”
The thrill certainly beat throwing a ball onto the roof and catching it in the solitude of her back yard.
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