Music and volleyball.
At first glance, the two seem to have few similarities.
However, for Linfield College’s Shayli Coppock, they are important pursuits in her everyday life.
A psychology major who also studied music as a minor, Coppock had no musical experience coming out of Linfield Christian High School in Temecula, Calif.
“Halfway through my freshman year I was getting very overwhelmed in my music classes,” says Coppock. “I came in with no classical training. I took classes with fellow musicians who’d had years of classes and lessons. When things started getting really hard, it was difficult to keep pushing myself.”
She was able to push on and complete the minor in music.
“I am very proud of not giving up,” Coppock says.
Music has become one of her biggest passions in life. She plays guitar and sings and has already performed at home in Temecula, near San Diego.
“Playing for people who connect with the music is probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I hope to always have music in my life and see where it takes me.”
Her struggles and successes in music parallel her frustrations and triumphs in volleyball.
Just as with her ventures in music, Coppock’s experience with volleyball has had its ups and downs.
A badly sprained ankle kept Coppock on the sidelines for most of the 2011 season.
Fully recovered, she worked her way into Linfield’s starting lineup, and according to Linfield coach Shane Kimura, “has seen more playing time every year and is working to be a more consistent player.”
For Coppock, volleyball has been a key part of life the past 10 years and it was a major setback for her to be out of action for a month with an injury.
During practice one day, Coppock landed awkwardly after blocking a ball at the net. It was, she says, “the worst sprain possible without breaking it, and the trainers said it should have been broken.”
The injury to her ankle was just one obstacle to her success. Her own mental approach also formed challenging barriers.
She credits her father, Greg, as her biggest inspiration in overcoming mental roadblocks. He introduced her to volleyball and was her first coach in middle school. He also played sports his entire life and “all of his advice has really paid off for me.”
It’s not just her father that inspires her. Her entire family, including mother, Lisa, has been there for her since day one.
“My family is who helped me become who I am today without a doubt. Everything I’ve experienced with them has shaped the person I am now. My dad and mom have always taught me important lessons. My dad’s experiences with competition and sports have shaped the volleyball player I am. My sister, Colby, is my best friend and someone I will always look up to.”
Some of the saddest moments in Coppock’s life came when she had to miss the birth of her nephew and her step-sister’s engagement.
Coppock believes her time at Linfield has made her closer with her family. She cherishes her time at home, but also is able to remain in touch with them during the academic year.
Despite the personal and physical challenges Coppock has gone through, she believes that they are all leading up to a great career, possibly in school counseling.
“I mainly want to find a job that I love doing. The psychology program really inspired me to consider school counseling, along with my experience with kids in babysitting, daycare, and volleyball camps.”
Though she has grand plans for after college, including counseling and music, volleyball remains an important activity of Coppock’s life.
She loves intense five-set matches, especially when the Wildcats pull out a satisfying win and recalls one such event at George Fox University.
It was the Bruins’ Homecoming night, and the Wildcats snatched victory away from the home team in a nail-biting, five-round match.
Coppock believes volleyball has helped her develop stronger leadership and team-building skills, especially when her injury prevented her from physically contributing on the court.
After recovering from her time on crutches, Coppock realized how much volleyball means to her and chose to not take the sport for granted any longer.
“The moments in my college life that really stick out to me are the ones involving volleyball and the friends I’ve made by being part of such awesome teams. I’m incredibly thankful for them and all of my best memories have been with those friends!”
Coppock believes she has learned much about herself during her time in McMinnville and now has a clearer picture of how she would like to spend her life.
During her time at Linfield, Coppock has learned to balance her family, sport, and school life, all in time to the music of her guitar.
– Kelsey McGarry ‘16