By Danny Emerman (Online Editor-in-Chief).
As a freshman, Jonathan Dickerman desperately wanted to make the volleyball team, but he wasn’t confident enough to try out.
Three years later and 100 pounds lighter, Dickerman is the only boy on the Sharon High volleyball squad.
“I took on the matriarchy and won,” Dickerman said jokingly. He speculates that his gender could have been a factor in previous years when he did not earn a spot on the team.
“For me, I wasn’t really sure I was being given an equal shot because I’m a boy. But it’s difficult to tell and I’m not sure one way or the other,” the senior added.
Although the Sharon High volleyball team has been historically populated by girls, Title IX allows boys to play too because SHS does not offer a men’s team.
Teammate Faythe Gomolka says that the team does not act any differently around Jonathan even though he’s a guy. “He really just fits in as one of us,” the senior said.
“He brings a lot of energy to the program. He’s been a part of the program for the past three years so it’s not too different. He’s definitely very enthusiastic about being on the team,” Gomolka added.
Dickerman’s only restriction, under MIAA rules, is that he cannot spike the ball from the front row.
“I understand where it’s coming from,” Dickerman says. “But it’s a blanket statement to say all guys can jump higher and hit harder than most girls. I would like to play front row but I’m happy in the back, although it is limiting,” he added.
Dickerman’s four-year journey to the varsity volleyball team was tumultuous. As a sophomore, he acted as the team manager. He served as the assistant freshman coach his junior year. But his main objective, to play the sport he loves, never faded.
To achieve his personal goal, Dickerman turned to personal trainer Jay Thebado. With Thebado, Dickerman has shed over 100 pounds since the end of sophomore year.
“We got him on a great nutrition plan and he really committed to it,” Thebado said. They train two to three times per week.
“He really trains me like an athlete,” Dickerman said. “He prepares me to jump higher, run faster, and have more endurance.”
Now, Dickerman is a staple on the volleyball team, as he recently contributed a strong a performance from the back row in a win against Foxboro. The team is 3-1.
Dickerman says he wishes he could go back in time and give the freshman version of himself a word of advice.
“I’d tell him that with effort and persistence, eventually you will get to your goal.”
Photo Credit: Terry Louison