MOSINEE - At first glance most volleyballs look generally the same. They're the same shape, same size, and similar colors. There's a tradition in Mosinee, however, that adds a little pop to both the volleyballs and the program.
"I just love this tradition," said head coach Justin Jacobs. "I feel like it's unique to us and something we can be proud of."
It's a tradition that pre-dates the sixth-year head coach, and it's just as much a part of Mosinee volleyball as the colors of the jerseys.
"I think it's very unique because not many other schools do it," said junior Allison Miller.
Each year the girls that make the varsity team decorate a ball to be used in practice and before matches.
"They get their own blank ball and from there they get to fill in inspirational quotes, names, things that are important to them," said Jacobs.
It's a tradition the players love. And it's unique for each of them.
"Every year I always make sure to put my teammates' names on it because it is really important to show that this was the year I had Janay and Page and Sydney and so on, on my team," said senior Brooke Wierzbanowski.
Miller, however, hasn't finished hers yet.
"I have blank spaces that I want to put my own messages, my own motivational quotes that will push me in practice every day, and hopefully others can pick it up and push themselves too," said Miller.
Those messages will be read for years to come. That's because the volleyballs are passed on from one generation of Mosinee players to the next.
"We actually coach a fourth-grade team together and then sometimes at practice they want to use our old past balls, so it's pretty cool seeing that come full circle," said senior Sophie Kamke.
Jacobs says that shows the players they're a part of a larger program.
"The legacy carries on," said Jacobs. "The tradition carries on of being a part of something bigger."
That bigger something goes beyond just the volleyball court.
"To something that may not even be related to sports, it may be related to something else, and anything is possible, and a simple ball with a quote on it can push you every day," said Miller.
Mosinee finished second in the Great Northern Conference last year. The Indians start their season with an invitational Tuesday afternoon.