“In middle school, I wanted to play because I really liked the sound of the ball coming off peoples’ arms. I also really like the satisfaction of taking a ball, throwing it up in the air and hitting it straight back into the ground into its resting position on the ground. So the sport has always appealed to me and when I started playing, I found out that I liked the team and I liked playing, so I stuck with it,” said Briggs.
His teammate, Erik Glover ’19, said, “Every day he arrives 30 minutes early to practice and sits in the middle of the court contemplating volleyball strategy and his life choices.”
Briggs’s passion for the sport translates to his positive and motivating presence on the court, according to Coach Clyfe Beckwith.
“Clay brings enthusiasm and skill to every practice [and] match. It is obvious to anyone who watches him that he loves the game,” said Beckwith.
Adam Peters ’19 added, “Clay is by far the most sage person on the court, and he bequeaths us wisdom on the daily. Clay is also a big ol goof. His spoofs, gafs, giggles, spans, and spiggles will make anybody’s eyes water with joy.”
Furthermore, Briggs’s caring persona and extensive volleyball knowledge makes him an exceptional leader to both newer players and returners, according to Beckwith.
“His willingness to take newcomers under his wing and explain subtleties of strategy to new and oldcomers alike makes him an easy choice as captain,” Beckwith said.
According to Beckwith, Briggs’s success on the court is due not only to his knowledge of the sport, but his talent.
“His skills at outside hitter and back row catalyzes better team play; playing next to and with Clay makes it more fun,” said Beckwith.
Briggs added, “I’d say that my bounce helps. Some members of the team might exaggerate my vertical jump to a hefty 50 inches. I’m not going to take those claims and say that they’re true or false, but let’s just say that I can jump.”
Briggs serves as a strong motivator, encouraging other players to become better, according to Glover.
“Through his kindness and patience, Clay has managed to inspire members of the team like Jeffrey Du [’19] to become absolute volleyball beasts,” said Glover.
Briggs also helps Andover by confusing its opponents, according to himself and Peters.
“There’s this new thing that we’re working on to throw the other team off of their game. We’ve been trying to communicate in other languages. The main one that we’re going to [use] is German…We don’t only use German, though. We use a lot of unconventional volleyball slang that confuses the other team,” said Briggs.
Peters added, “On the court, Clay gets into the minds of the other team. By yelling phrases such as ‘low float with topspin coming in the front lower middle.’ Clay calls out the other team and keeps them on their toes.”
Briggs feels as if the team is his family, and he loves spending time with his teammates.
“A big part of volleyball is chemistry, and you need to build that chemistry on and off of the court. On the court, I like to yell at them and be the bad cop in a lot of scenarios because that’s one way to get them better. But then off of the court, it helps to go to their dorms and hang out as one would say. I play video games with them, we like making funny jokes, we cook food. We’re like a family and we spend a lot of quality time together. Sometimes I even read stories to them,” said Briggs.