SPORTSMANSHIP | A Touching Phone Call

Blair High School Principal David Ibarra reaches out to South Pasadena High Athletic Director Greg Luna to praise the action of Tigers’ volleyball coach Ivy Chew

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | | South Pasadena High Athletic Director Greg Luna received a call from Blair High School Principal David Ibarra praising the actions of Tigers’ volleyball coach Ivy Chew.

David Ibarra didn’t have to make the call, but he did.

It’s a gesture South Pasadena High School Athletic Director Greg Luna won’t long forget after hearing from the fellow administrator.

These kinds of calls don’t get much better, especially when so much emphasis is placed on a winning record these days.

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On Tuesday, South Pasadena High’s girls’ volleyball team had just handed Blair a decisive loss, beating the Vikings in three straight sets – 25-8, 25-12, 25-21 – to easily win the match.

The scores could have been much worse – much, much worse.

That’s what prompted Ibarra, Blair High School’s principal, to make the call. He simply wanted to thank Luna and tout the actions of South Pasadena’s volleyball coach Ivy Chew.

During the second set, Chew, knowing going into the match her team could have completely dominated play, began substituting her starters with younger players, easing off the pedal, so to speak, to give Blair a chance to be competitive.

Ibarra, in his second year as Blair’s principal, told Luna during their phone conversation that South Pasadena High was the first school to treat Viking players in that fashion. “He said other schools are simply interested in finishing the match as quickly as possible,” explained Luna, “by keeping their starters on the court.”

Chew not only took the opportunity to give her younger players a chance to see some much-needed playing time, but wanted her opponent to have a good experience on the court.

“It’s not my style to demolish a team that is still in the learning process,” said Chew, a kind-hearted soul, yet competitive at the same time.  “I wanted to give them an opportunity to compete and learn more. A lot of my girls are also playing at a high level with a club team, and Blair players don’t always have the same opportunity. So instead of beating them 25-0, 25-2 each game, or something like that, I’d rather they had the feeling they were able to compete against another team.”

When the match got a little tight, however, in the third and final set, with the Tigers trailing by eight points, Chew put her starters back in to rally back, seal the deal and improve South Pasadena’s record to 2-1 in the Rio Hondo League, 10-5 overall on the season.

After hearing that Ibarra reached out to Luna praising in act of kindness, the Tigers’ coach couldn’t be more thankful. “I really appreciate that there are people like him,” she said. “It makes me feel like I did something right as a coach.”

Indeed she did, showing that good sportsmanship works every time.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | | Blair High School Principal David Ibarra praised South Pasadena High volleyball coach Ivy Chew for her actions Tuesday. Chew played many of her reserves in the match when she could have kept her starters in and dominated the match.