WATSON – It’s been a while since the All-Livingston Parish Volleyball Team was selected by the parish’s coaches, and Live Oak’s Chloe Magee was still impressed by her performance as the team’s best all-around player, a honorary coach who was chosen to add to the team.
“It’s an honor,” Magee said. “It means a lot to know that coaches see the work we put into it, and it means a lot to know that other coaches see how much you want it and how much you care about the game because that’s reflected in your performance. Even if it’s not the best execution, you can still see the heart in every game you make.”
It’s also quite an achievement, considering Magee didn’t start playing volleyball until her freshman year of high school.
“It’s still a bit new,” said the junior. “I am still new to volleyball. I am more dominated by softball, but I feel like volleyball is more my freedom. I can have more fun with it, so to have fun with it and still be able to compete at a high level just means a lot.”
Magee said she started figuring out she might have a future in volleyball during summer practice for her freshman season shortly after Live Oak softball coach Katie Roux Prescott arrived.
“I started to gain some muscle because I’ve always been small,” she said with a smile. “We went into practice. I just stayed with the JV. We had a summer league and then (former Live Oak) Coach (Chastity) Simms was here. She mixed me up with some varsity games. I could tell I would get it. It was just a matter of getting those reps, just getting familiar with the game. The second year when Coach Janie (Tidwell) came here is really when we clicked. She showed me the mental side of the game.”
Tidwell praised Magee’s abilities, even if she had some trouble getting to know her personality at first.
“She’s one of those athletes you meet once a decade, or maybe once in a lifetime, depending on who you are and where you are,” Tidwell said. “I think she could do whatever she wanted, whether she’s been playing it for a long time or not. She’s just one of those athletes who wants to excel at whatever she does, so she’s going to do her best to be the best she can.” are in every aspect she can be in. She’s a great kid on the pitch, a great kid off the pitch, very intense all the time.”
“Because she was with her, she didn’t seem really angry, but she doesn’t show much emotion,” Tidwell continued. “Then you have a little trouble seeing ‘OK, does she like this or not?’ Then you realize that when you’re with her, she loves it. It’s fun for her. Obviously, it’s not her primary sport, but she enjoys it, and she’s still doing it 150 percent. I think she does that with would do checkers if she played checkers. I think she would go in because she doesn’t want to lose, and it’s checkers. That’s just who she is.”
Magee said her softball background was a plus as she learned the ins and outs of volleyball.
“I think the most important thing is that volleyball is very similar to softball, even if it is a lot smaller,” she said. “You dive into softball and volleyball. Overhand swinging is like throwing, so there are a lot of aspects I could relate to softball, so it made it easy to pick up.”
Tidwell delved deeper into the softball background that translates to volleyball.
“A lot of softball players are good volleyball players because of the arm swing,” Tidwell said. “It’s like throwing a ball. You relate that to them – it’s how you throw a ball and where your release point is and reaching over the shoulder and stuff like that. It helps. There are a lot of softball players who play volleyball because it’s an easy transition.”
Tidwell said Magee’s natural leadership skills don’t hurt either.
“There are a lot of things she has as an athlete that you can’t learn,” she said. “You can try. She leads by example. I’m sure she makes some of her teammates because she holds them accountable and wants them to put in the effort she puts in. You can’t learn that. She doesn’t like a bad game. She doesn’t like coming out because she wants to compete.”
Magee also gave her hat to Tidwell for helping build her confidence during her sophomore year.
“I’ve always been confident in my abilities,” Magee continued. “I was very blessed with natural talents, but coach Janie really showed me how to use those talents. She showed me that I can play every part of the game. I can play front row and back row, and the more you do it, the more confident you get. It’s not really arrogance. It’s just being sure of yourself and being sure of your game.”
Live Oak took advantage of Magee’s skills this season, as most of the team’s games played the entire game without leaving the field. It’s a challenge that Magee welcomed.
“Coach Roux made sure we were in good shape this summer, and I think that really helped in the season,” she said. “I also feel like if you stay on the pitch you get into a better rhythm so you never come out and you have to get back in the game. I’m just always in the game, always focused. Never break taking really helps me, I think.”
“The only thing she doesn’t do is settle, and it’s a joke with us about, ‘Oh, I’m going to make you settle with JV.’ She says, ‘Okay. I’m not good at coaching, but I’ll try,'” said Tidwell. “I play her (all the way around), not necessarily because I have to, but she’s just that player who leads in those categories… and on the pitch she just keeps the intensity high. She’ll get a hand in just about any game .”
“I think it’s good and bad,” Tidwell continued. “I didn’t have the luxury of having subs, but then again, I didn’t really need a sub because I had her. It didn’t always happen, but I was confident we’d get something out of that piece if we put her on it. It wasn’t a murder every time, and I understand that. You can go back and forth and have these long rallies, but she’s the player I would give her as a coach and as a teammate to end that rally… because chances are she’s going to do something with it and be be productive with it and win those long rallies.”
Magee pointed to a five-set loss to Denham Springs as her most memorable game of the season.
“That was my favorite game we’ve played in all three years,” she said. “You just felt the passion coming from each player. Players who are always passionate, but don’t always show it well. You could just feel it. They had nothing to say, but you could feel the intensity and passion. They all work. for the same. It’s also Denham. We want to beat Denham. Who doesn’t want to beat his school next to him?”
Live Oak just missed last season’s playoffs, coming in at number 33 in the final Division I standings. Magee returns for her senior season with the postseason being her primary goal.
“I’d say that’s a result of our focus,” Magee said of reaching the postseason. “Our focus is always to be the best people we can be, and when you’re the best in any category, your performance will usually reflect that. I feel like our culture has changed (last season). I feel that Coach Janie and Coach T (assistant coach Kendall Theriot) played a big part in that. They showed us that volleyball isn’t just a game, and that we can do things on the court that can help people off the court. It just made us play better as a team, knowing we were working for that.”
“I think being so close (to making last season’s playoffs) motivates us so much for next year, just knowing we can do it,” said Magee. “You just think back to all those missed opportunities, then you want to work even harder.”