Counsel of the Court
Reynolds combines competitive nature with teaching mentality
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 00:08
As a freshman on the Texas A&M volleyball team in 2010, Heather Reynolds was rumored to have a fierce competitive nature, something head coach Laurie Corbelli at first had a hard time seeing.
“She’s come a long way,” Corbelli said, laughing. “I wasn’t sure how competitive Heather was. When I was recruiting her, I did not realize how competitive she is.”
Now as a senior with the Aggies, Reynolds hardly expresses intimidating features in her personality. An interdisciplinary studies major with an emphasis in teaching, learning and culture, Reynolds has used her four years at A&M learning to balance her competitive edge with a calming nature.
Her nurturing personality has led her to position as team captain in 2013 and has allowed her to serve the students of A&M.
Reynolds is a member of Aggie ALLY, a support group that provides a safe zone, listening ear and support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“I’ve always been taught that we’re all the same and none of that matters,” Reynolds said. “On a conservative campus like this, it’s hard for a lot of people to accept stuff like that. I have a sticker I put on my binder. If anyone ever wants to talk to me they know they can come up to me and talk to me about stuff like that.”
said she has had complete strangers or classmates call to talk about their situation, something she welcomes.
“I feel like people don’t feel intimidated by my presence,” the 6-foot-tall, outside hitter said. “They feel like they can talk to me about relationships, which is really hard in that community to talk about sometimes. I feel like I have that chameleon factor to talk to someone like they are a human being, and they can relate to what I’m saying so we can get somewhere with the conversation.”
Reynolds has been able to use the same chameleon factors she uses as an ALLY to become a leader on this year’s young and slightly inexperienced volleyball team.
“Her and I talk a lot about what we want from this team and we’re always on the same page about the team goals and everything,” senior teammate Allie Sawatzky said. “Ever since freshman year we’ve connected really well. She’s a really hard worker, a really strong player and a great leader.”
For a team that graduated five senior starters at the end of last season, Reynolds has played a vital role as she counsels her younger teammates.
“Her major is education, so she not only has a natural instinct for being ‘the teacher’ type. She’s comfortable in it and she’s had training in it,” Corbelli said. “She’s not afraid to speak up and not really give direction but give her insight. She very much gets that it’s her actions that speak much louder than words.”
On the court, Reynolds is a constant competitor. That stems from growing up in a long line of athletes bearing the Reynolds name.
Her mom and dad were athletes at Lamar University, playing volleyball and baseball. Her grandfather was a four-year baseball player at Rice and her great-grandfather was a Major League Baseball outfielder in the 1930s, playing against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
“I’m really proud,” Reynolds said. “I always heard about my dad and granddad being these superstar athletes. I feel like I represented them well and I really don’t think I’d be here if it wasn’t for them. They were my coaches, but they are also my biggest cheerleaders.”
As a freshman and sophomore on the Aggie squad, Reynolds sat the bench waiting for her opportunity — something that proved tough for the high school star, who also lettered in softball and tennis at Wharton High.
In the team’s second tournament of the season a year ago at Yale, Reynolds was named to the all-tournament team, injecting a boost of confidence.
“I remember when it was announced that I got all-tournament I thought that was the coolest thing ever,” she said. “I never thought that with the talent we had on our team, that I would be one of the top ones other people would recognize.”
Reynolds, who hopes to be a school counselor after graduation, looks to be a fixture on the reigning SEC West champion Aggie team, but it will take a little bit of both her highly competitive side and her counseling nature to help propel this young Aggie squad.
“I want to be really motivated and I want to be intense,” Reynolds said. “I am a captain and I’m really excited to see how it goes. Some of the freshmen last year went through what I went through my freshman year, so I can relate. I’m acting as a mentor to a lot of them.”