Bump, set, sign

Before hitting the court, all players in the volleyball program have to sign a social media contract prohibiting them from posting hurtful comments about the team, fellow players and opponents.

The contract is a replica of the contract the University of Michigan uses for its women’s volleyball team.

“At the old school I coached, people would write untrue things about their teammates to get them kicked off,” Days said. “I just don’t want to see that again. I wanted to put guidelines in place for the team to follow.”

Day is helping her athletes prepare for the future by teaching them to respect the permanency and prominence of social media. Volleyball player August Bishop recognizes the benefits.

“I actually like the idea behind the contract,” she said. “Our whole team supported it.”

Social media contracts such as these aren’t uncommon in high school sports due to the increasing prominence of social media in high school life.

Head varsity football coach Ken Koenig gave his team distinct rules to follow throughout the season. Positive or negative, every electronic comment toward the Dexter football program had to be posted only on the Dexter Football Touchdown Club Facebook page.

If a player violates this social media restriction, he is suspended for a game.

“If you’re going to say it, it should be something that can be read by everybody,” Koenig said.

He said he wants his team to make their decisions based on the acronym C.H.I.P.: Character, Honor, Integrity, and Pride.

“CHIP is the filter that our guys should run their ideas through,” he said.

But there are some sports teams that don’t feel social media poses a significant threat.

The women’s varsity basketball team doesn’t have a social media contract in effect. According to Assistant Coach Lauren Thompson, the coaching staff doesn’t think such a contract is necessary.

“We feel like our players respect our wishes on social media,” she said. “We think that they do a pretty good job of representing us in the right way. We have a good relationship with our players, and we trust them. They understand the expectations we have for them.”

However, even with its positive attitude, the basketball team isn’t immune to social networking scandals.

“We’ve had to not start players before,” Thompson said. “We don’t have any tolerance for any kind of negative social media stuff about our team or our opponents. Part of being a part of our program is to have high standards for ourselves, and they understand that we carry ourselves a certain way.”

Despite not having a concrete social media contract in place, basketball players still face consequences for any inappropriate social networking. Thompson encourages her girls to act respectably.

“We try to keep things as positive as we can,” she said. “Obviously we can’t control what our girls tweet and facebook about, but we want them to be as positive about us and our opponents as we can. If we see something that’s negative that they’re Tweeting or Facebooking, there are definite team consequences.”

Social media didn’t used to exist. Now its role in sports is rapidly increasing, with athletes constantly having to keep emotions under control in their social lives.

Dexter High School Athletic Director, Mike Bavineau, fears that students use social media without considering the repracautions of their posts. Bavineau believes putting guidelines in place is a smart way to get athletes in the habit of thinking before posting.

“My biggest priority is to educate kids on what they need to know and how social media will impact them eventually. As for contracts, I think the coach has to lay the expectations down for each of their individual teams and how they want their programs to run, so if they decide that they want their teams to have a contract, I support that,” Bavineau said.

Returning to the top

They’ve been sixth in the state for two years running and the mens water polo team hopes to continue the tradition.

However, according to Assistant Coach Andrew Leonard, the loss of graduated players and the lack of a big senior class, the team’s position in the state will be more difficult to maintain.

Last year, co-captains Max Merriman and Michael Garcia brought the team to states with a win against the higher-ranked Skyline team.

This year, the varsity team consisted of seniors, juniors and sophomores; however, there are fewer seniors and only one junior. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores.

“Experience is the best teacher,” senior Max Korinek said. “That’s why we could struggle this year. It’s such a young team.”

There have been three tournaments so far this year, resulting in only three Dexter wins out of approximately 12 games. The team faced a state champ Rockford team, the state runners-up Huron and another top four-ranked team, Pioneer. All of these games resulted in losses.

The road to states will mean facing teams like Rockford, Huron and Pioneer again. While the the team had its first season win against Chelsea recently, they will have to play Saline and Ann Arbor Pioneer for district rankings.

After all the district games, if they place first or second, then they can advance to regionals against either Saline or Pioneer, which coach Leonard said could be difficult for the young team.

If this can be done, the water polo team will have to play state-ranked Ann Arbor Huron again, along with Ann Arbor Skyline and Okemos. But senior captain Andrew Watson said despite the rough schedule, the team will still enjoy the season.

He said, “It’ll be a tough season for us, but we’ll make the best of it and have a good time in and out of the water.”

Mens soccer hopes to return to states

The mens soccer team is coming off a season in which they went to states and finished in the final four. Currently ranked sixth in the state with an 8-3-1 record, the possibility of returning to states isn’t out of the question according to Coach Scott Forester who thinks it’s hard to consider the postseason yet.

Forester said, “With three weeks left in the regular season, it’s hard to think that far ahead.”

Senior Owen Brooks agrees.

“It’s hard not to look ahead, but that’s definitely a mindset we have to have.We still have a lot of games left before the playoffs and those are what we need to focus on right now.”
Even though districts are a distance away, Forester thinks there will be strong teams that can compete well with Dexter.

Forester said, “Our district draw hasn’t occurred yet however, strong teams like Mason and Chelsea are in there, which will it make it difficult to win at that level of the tournament.”

The tough challenges moving forward may prove a test for Dexter, but they’ve beaten tough teams before and know how to play against tough opponents. This gives them an advantage over other teams because of that experience that is valuable to the teams success according to Forester.

Forester said, “The team has shown an ability to take on the best and compete well with them.”
The team is experienced too as eight out of the 11 starters from last year return the two captains, seniors Levi Kipke and Tony Pisto. Forester said they bring leadership and an understanding on how to return to states and what it takes to get back.

Forester said, “Having them for another year, knowing what it takes to compete at the highest level, they are able to share that with their teammates.”
With the leadership of their captains, Brooks said the team knows how to return to states and know that they can.

He said, “Having been to to states once was an awesome experience, but it makes us want to work even harder this year to go all the way.”
Being to states before, the dreadnaughts know what to expect from the other teams that made it that far and how to prepare for them.

Brooks said, “We know what to expect and the types of teams we will be up against.”

The experience of Kipke and Pisto, trickle down to the new players too including junior Jake Rayer.

“Their experience really helps us out and helps us to achieve our goal,” Rayer said. They give constructive criticism and when we’re struggling, they help us get over our struggles and get better. This helps us get ready for the postseason and help us go to return to states.”