DANVILLE — There is no off season.
It’s a tagline used by Nike, and a motto adopted by athletes across the globe that are committed to reaching an elite status.
But for Schlarman Academy junior Laura Gross, it’s much more than a slogan. She lives it. It’s lifestyle she has gladly embraced with one goal in mind: to reach the highest level possible as an athlete and a volleyball player.
For the second year in a row, Gross has been named the Commercial-News Volleyball Player of the Year, and it is no secret she has put in the extra time necessary to become one of the area’s best.
The decision to make the extra commitment came at the end of last season when she chose to make volleyball her primary focus. That meant other sports, which she also loved to play, were going to take a backseat to her true passion.
“Volleyball, seriously, never stops, because right after Super-Sectionals, we have a week or two weeks until our first tryout for club,” Gross said. “It’s two Sundays of tryouts and then we start practice. If you want to count it as a break, it’s been two weeks.
“We made it to nationals last year (during the club season). Nationals was the first week of July, so it was overlapping. I seriously just did volleyball all year around.”
She never wavered in her commitment, and she is confident she is putting herself in the best position to succeed.
The possibility of fatigue both mentally and physically has been brought to her attention, but she isn’t second-guessing herself in the decision to go all-in.
“It’s nice because I like volleyball so much, and I’m just glad that I have had a whole year of it nonstop and I haven’t been like, ‘Wow! Why did I choose volleyball?’” Gross said. “It hasn’t been like that.”