Bump, set, spike. Open mission call.
Each of the 11 young men on the 2014-2015 Mesa Mountain View High School varsity volleyball team had those actions in common.
They worked hard to prepare for competition as one of Arizona’s top-ranked 5A volleyball teams, all the while dedicating themselves to preparing to serve the Lord in the mission field as well.
Working together, the team made it to the semi-finals, where they lost in sudden death to Hamilton High School, the team that went on to win state.
They celebrated other wins together as well. “When each of us got our calls, we had mission call openings at our houses,” says Brayden Rickeberg, of the Vista Peaks Ward, Alta Vista Stake. “When every call was read, the whole team was there.” As soon as the call was read, “We’d go up and have a big group hug.”
Brayden says that team support meant a great deal to him.
“I was a little ‘iffy’ about even serving a mission,” he explains, “but to be around all those guys every day who were so enthusiastic about the gospel and about serving a mission … it was awesome.”
Brayden’s call was to serve in the Argentina Bahia Blanca Mission and he reported to the Provo MTC on July 14.
David Beecher, of the Greenfield Ward, Mountain View Stake, says he, too, “got a little nervous about serving a mission this year.”
“I sort of got cold feet,” he says, “so it was great to have the example of the others on the team.”
David, who received a call to the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission, says it was “really special” to play with team members that all had the same standards.
Cole Martindale, of Valley View Ward, Hermosa Vista Stake, agrees. “I was constantly surrounded by good examples,” he says. And, even when the team members weren’t together, they emailed each other often and, using a group dial they created on their cellphones, “We would share ‘Mormon Messages’ with each other,” Cole says.
“I always felt like someone had my back, he adds.
Cole, who will serve in the Singapore Mission, says, “I am excited to share the gospel and to make people as happy as I am.”
Garrin Slade, who has been called to the Mexico Tijuana Mission, will be the last of the 11 to leave for the mission field. A member of the Mesa 60th Ward, Mesa East Stake, Garrin says, “The brotherhood and spirit we had was a wonderful thing.”
He said they had fun together. “Every day was like being with family,” he says.
And, they earned the respect of their schoolmates as well.
“It’s an LDS-dominant school,” Garrin says, but, still, “As a team, we held ourselves to a higher standard. Others looked to us as kids they could count on if they needed anything.”
Each of the team members says volleyball taught them lessons about hard work and dedication that will serve them well in the mission field.
“I learned that no matter what the circumstances or how tough the other team was, we could work together as friends and brothers to fight for one common goal,” says Luke Shill, of the Groves Ward, Mountain View Stake. Luke, who will serve in the Argentine Buenos Aires South Mission, says, “I am super excited. I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m super excited to go.”
Each member of the team values his volleyball brothers and the experiences they had together. Yet, each agrees with Luke, who says, “I’m excited to be on the Lord’s team now.”