Joy to the (volleyball) world

Joy to the (volleyball) world
Joy Gazelle Cases ‘I don’t know how I will take it when I retire from playing.’

Joy Gazelle Cases of Hair Fairy-Philippine Air  Force speaks of a new frustration in playing competitively.

Although only 28, she says she has already started feeling body pains after a particularly strenuous training or a draining marathon match.

“This is my newest frustration in playing the sport of my life. I want to be able to play for as long as I can,” she said in Filipino, “but my body is already flashing warning signals. I don’t know how I will take it when I retire from playing.”

Otherwise, the five-foot-seven-and-a-half Information Technology graduate from Lyceum is always a joy to watch on the court being a key player of the various teams she has played with over the years.

Bent at the waist and sometimes running her fingers through her ponytail, she is a picture of intense concentration when she waits for the service from the opposite court.

As a frontliner she’d quickly run to the wing at the net as the ball travels to their side of the court, then leaps higher than most to whack the set dished out to her.

From senior high in Sta. Clara Parish School in Pasay in 2006 up to the present as airwoman 2nd class in Philippine Air Force, Cases has been into competitive volleyball, shifting from badminton, her original sport from fifth grade to third year high, after finding out, she said, that a team event is more challenging and  enjoyable.

And she became especially attached to her new sport when, mourning the death of an elder sister, she found immersing herself more in volleyball cathartic.

“Accepting the death as God’s will and tiring myself out in playing helped me moved on.”

There was unmistakable sorrow in her voice which reached her eyes as well when she spoke of the family tragedy.

“It marked a few turning points in our family,” she recalled. “My father quit his job abroad. He just wanted to spend the rest of his life near us, his remaining family. The death also opened my eyes to the realization that I should value what I have now, that I should seize every opportunity that comes my way and make the most out of it, and that I should enjoy life with my loved ones every which way I can.”

Cases worked harder than most to excel first in badminton then in volleyball to get athletic scholarships.

“By studying for free I was already helping out my parents who both had to work to support me and a younger sister and who are still working now.”

After graduating from high school, she played for Letran for two years under coach Nes Pamilar.

She transferred to Lyceum and competed in the WNCAA under coach Emil Lontoc, sharing three of her new school’s unbroken 13-title run in the same women’s league.

Her volleyball skills, she admitted, helped her land a job at Maynilad. Her first take-home pay of P12,000 went directly to her mother.

Eight months later she enlisted with Philippine Air Force and has since resumed sharing in the household expenses. Bankrolled by a loan she acquired a second-hand Toyota Corolla in 2013.

These days Cases is still driving with pride the excellently-maintained car, which comes in handy when she sets out to enjoy life with family and friends outside the court.

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