We Lost Our Season, Not Our Fire

by Anthony Devantier on December 3, 2020

We Lost Our Season, Not Our Fire

by Anthony Devantier on December 3, 2020

March 11 was a fantastic evening of volleyball. That night saw a regular season match-up between us, the Arcadia Knights—defending MAC champs, but I’m not bragging—and the Alvernia Golden Wolves. 

men's volleyball championship winners

2019 MAC champions

To call it a heated match would be an understatement. Alvernia has never been Arcadia’s volleyball rival—a place that will forever be saved for Stevenson—but the Golden Wolves brought their best, and I can’t remember a time that they did otherwise. This particular game went well into the night, five whole sets, the longest box score possible in our sport and, finally, was decided by just three points. I had 50 assists, not my all-time record (61 in case you were wondering), but a performance that stands out. 

That night was an example of why I love sport. I also remember March 11 because it was the last time the Arcadia men’s volleyball team would take the floor together. The next day, not even 12 hours later, the season was canceled. 

Coach Karl France from NYU calls the 2020 season “the Lost Season,” and I tend to agree. 2019 saw the Knights achieve a goal that had been pulling at us since the program started. Then, we fell short of another goal. We won the MAC championship, beating our bitter enemy Stevenson, then lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The 2020 season was not only a shot at redeeming ourselves and aspiring to the National Championship, but also about proving that our victory in the MAC wasn’t a fluke. Sadly, at the exact midpoint of that season, we were unceremoniously cut short, left to wonder what would have, could have, should have happened. 

Failure and defeat are powerful motivators, but we did not even have the opportunity to fail or be defeated. There is nothing that will prevent me from using every ounce of strength I have to prepare myself and my team for victory.

- Anthony Devantier

But the reason I’m telling you all this is not for pity or sympathy; at least we got the chance to play half a season. I want you to understand the disappointment of 2020 because it is what is fueling our aspirations for 2021. I can’t change the past, but I can (and will) do everything I can in the present to ensure the future I want. 

While the world was shut down, I began a regime of running, tire throwing, and body weight workouts. I always ate healthy, being a vegan athlete, but in those months my diet evolved. The team of 2021 waited with baited breath, and as soon as we were allowed, we began to play volleyball outdoors as often as we could manage. As soon as the local gym opened, I went in and got myself a membership. 

Now that school is in full swing, progress reports and midterms are through, the team comes all together once a week to play in a local open gym. The Alumni Gymnasium and the Kuch Center have just opened, and several of us were admitted access. The gym’s COVID protocols are stringent, but safety is our first priority at Arcadia! I am so thankful to be back in the gym. 

Failure and defeat are powerful motivators, but we did not even have the opportunity to fail or be defeated. I think that the Lost Season has been a strong motivator for next year. I am going into my last year, after all. 2021 is my last shot. There is nothing that will prevent me from using every ounce of strength I have to prepare myself and my team for victory.