Seasoned volleyball players Tyce Mister, Bruce Berline, and Randy Steele haven’t lost the competitive drive in them, but behind that aggressive approach in games is the desire to pass on decades of knowledge and skills in their sport.
“There’s no way we’re going to lose to a Berline-coached team,” said Steele when asked about their involvement in the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League that kicked off last Saturday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand courts.
Steele and Berline used to compete with and against each other in volleyball tournaments, especially at the height of the Marianas Cup, and in locally organized events. Last weekend, they crossed paths anew, this time as coaches, and the competitive nature of their relationship will continue in the next five weekends. Steele coaches one of the Mt. Carmel School teams (one each in boys and girls divisions), while Berline is helping Mili Saiki call the shots for Saipan International School.
“I will crash this guy,” Berline said. Seriously, we love to compete against each other, but at this time, it’s our teams’ show now. We are just so excited for them, to see them play outside and work together. There’s so much energy in this tournament.”
The interscholastic tournament is the first this season and also the first volleyball event organized since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March last year.
“It was hard for us grown-ups to deal with the lack of activities and the restrictions in place at the onset of the pandemic, so imagine how harder it was for our kids to suddenly stop what they love to do and miss these things for a long time,” Steele said.
“So, we’re really thankful to PSS and all the organizers for putting out this event for the students. This is also an opportunity for us, players, to pass on the knowledge we gained from playing volleyball for decades,” Steele added.
Mister echoed Steele’s sentiments, saying that they are now focused on helping younger players.
“We are truly competitive back in the days and even up to now when we are on the courts. However, though we love to play again, we also want to do more coaching and develop the skills of our young players, especially in the school level,” said Mister, who is one of the Marianas High School coaches.
Interestingly, Mister, Steele, and Berline have sons who will all play in the league starting this weekend.
“That would be fun to watch. It’s going to be very competitive for sure,” Steele said, whose son, Richard will be suiting up for MCS 1. Mister has two sons playing for MHS—Blake and Dylan—while Berline’s son, Matthew, is with SIS 2.