Penn Hills volleyball captain pens open letter about forfeit to Connellsville
Kelsey Lydic, a senior captain of the girls volleyball team, wrote an open letter explaining her team’s decision to forfeit the game against Connellsville. Here are her words:
As everyone in Penn Hills and our surrounding communities knows about the Penn Hills-Connellsville situation, there are some things I’d like to say. As an athlete of the Penn Hills School District, being told that you have to play against a team that was name calling and talking bad on your friends and classmates can really put you in an uncomfortable position.
We waited and hoped for a response from the WPIAL board to help us out in this situation, but everything that has been done has almost felt like they don’t care about how the Penn Hills athletes feel.
After the armed guard was brought to our volleyball match it really left me in a bad state of mind. Do they really see us as if we were going to snap back at them and try to harm them, or be rude and say something offensive to them? What they don’t see is how the Penn Hills School District and community comes together to help out everyone in our community. Our school faces challenges, just like every other school, but we are one big family that all looks out for each other.
So my coaches were left to deal with my team’s feelings on taking the trip to Connellsville to play our match. Some girls said they’d like to go. Some girls said “absolutely not.” One thing my parents taught me and made clear to me was that if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, don’t do it. My teammates and I do not feel threatened by Connellsville nor are we afraid of them. We simply just don’t feel welcomed into their communities and would like to avoid anything more than what has already gone on.
Last night, I spent my senior night, a night that should be enjoyed and celebrated, in the locker room with my coaches and team discussing how we’d like to pursue our match against them. After the tough decision, we decided that we will not be taking the trip to Connellsville to play against them. I’m so grateful and appreciative that I have the teammates, coaches and administration that supports the girls that did not want to go. The girls that wanted to go support those that didn’t want to go. To me that just shows how Penn Hills comes together. We all as a team wanted to go to simply play the game of volleyball, but it’s much more than that.
So as I said earlier, the girls volleyball team will not be attending our game against Connellsville today. We know people are going to show hate toward us and our decision, but as my coach wrote in an article on his website , we wish for people to rise above from this situation and learn from all of this.
Kelsey Lydic, Penn Hills girls varsity volleyball captain
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.