Teammate vs Competitor - 2018

Is it more challenging to be a great teammate or a great competitor?

Let’s pretend for just a moment that the two, teammate and competitor, are not dual-necessities for athletic success.  The rivalry continued this week for the boys who grow up competitors and teammates.  Micah Ma’a of the University of California Los Angeles Bruins men’s volleyball team squared off twice within one week against TJ DeFalco and Josh Tuaniga of the Long Beach State 49ers.  They put on two high-energy matches for California volleyball fans that both resulted in four set wins for DeFalco and Tuaniga’s 49er team.

Photo by Jim Wolf & video by Rob Espero.


Ma’a, mainly from the Ka Ulukoa youth club of Hawaii, is a highly technical player who uses athleticism, experience, and a fun-loving style to win over fans, as well as volleyball matches.  From the HBC youth club in Huntington Beach, California, DeFalco is a volleyball savant with a lightning arm-swing, joined by Tuaniga who’s a strong and brilliant orchestrator of volleyball offense, as smooth as they come. Through high school and portions of college, these three have been on both sides of the competitor and teammate spectrum.  Youth school years were spent in crowd-buzzing matches of Ka Ulukoa versus The HBC and Micah's Punahou High School battling TJ & Josh’s Huntington Beach High School.  The building rivalry softens during the summers when the three young men share a USA jersey competing for USA Volleyball’s Men’s National Team.


So what’s more challenging? Is it the chess match across the net from one another representing the university?  Or, is it perhaps the multifaceted responsibility to work together while pursuing greater volleyball gains for the country?


Want to know how it came to be?  Find out.  Read The Way GRV!


Have thoughts on what’s more challenging for these guys?  How about in your own life and in your own gym?  Message me your thoughts directly, or share in the comments below.


What’s Next?

UC Irvine and I play Friday and Sunday matches this weekend in Hawaii against Larry Tuileta Junior, Joe Worsley, and the University of Hawaii Bows.  That’s what’s next.  Go Irvine!


- Lion

Chris P Austin