BRIGHTON — The Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School volleyball teams faced one of their toughest opponents of the season Oct. 5. The faces on the other side of the net in the school’s gymnasium didn’t belong to students from rival schools West Glades or Yearling, but rather from the same households, as mothers, fathers and sisters squared off against PECS’ varsity and junior varsity teams in two exhibition matches.
Lewis Gopher, father of sixth-grade varsity player Karey Gopher, helped organize the event, which featured a healthy dose of competitiveness from both sides mixed with plenty of laughter.
Even the concession stand menu was upgraded with rib dinners.
“We thought it would be a fun thing for the parents and kids to do,” Lewis said. “A lot of the mothers of these girls played volleyball in high school.”
Two of those moms – Jo “Boogie” Jumper and Laverne Thomas – played middle school volleyball together but attended separate high schools. They were reunited on the court with the parents’ team in the varsity match that required an extra session before PECS emerged with a hard-fought 2-1 win and bragging rights.
“We were trying to place our serves; we should have just tried to get them in,” Jo said.
Miss Florida Seminole Destiny Nunez, a former student-athlete at Okeechobee High School, played in the varsity game against her sister Janessa, an eighth-grader who plans to attend OHS.
“We’re always competitive with each other,” said Destiny, who went airborne several times to blast the ball over the net.
Alice Sweat, who raises eighth-grade players Alaina Sweat and Julia Smith, came off the bench to provide support in the backcourt for the parents’ team.
“We lost,” Alice said, “but it was fun.”
The family side fared better in the junior varsity tilt. Moms and dads won, 2-0.
Varsity coach Kim Jackson and junior varsity coach Jordan Maynard officiated the matches.
Jackson said this was the first time such an event was held with the volleyball program and it proved to be a big hit.
“I think the kids really enjoyed it, and the parents enjoyed being out there,” she said. “It was a good time.”