It’s impossible to predict the result when a new element is added to an existing situation. In the case of beach volleyball players Gabby Walker and Maggie Boyd, both of Flower Mound, the results were all kinds of wonderful.
Gabby and Maggie bonded in a BFF friendship at 11 years old. Then, one day, they discovered beach volleyball. Within hours, literally, they were totally in love with the sport.
It’s obvious the words “beach volleyball” do not bring to mind images of Texas. California? Yes. Florida? Yes.
Texas, however, had no intention of being left out of the picture. Instead, beaches were “built” and staffed with skilled trainers such as T.J. Staples, who played the sport both inside and outside. Seven years ago, he became the director of Madsand Beach Volleyball Club in Plano.
“We have quite a few good clubs in Texas,” Staples said, “ Gabby and Maggie have certainly played a big part in putting Texas on the map in the sport. They came to me when they were 16 and I had them for two years. The complete trust they have in one another on the field, and the open communication when changes are needed are two of the reasons for their success. They didn’t lose one tournament during those last two years before college. It was no surprise when rival schools in southern California offered them scholarships.”
That means instead of standing side-by-side on the court, they’ll look at one another across the net. “No problem,” said Staples. “They’ve already been challenged to do that and they’re fine.”
Maggie doesn’t mince words about her attraction to volleyball.
“I fell in love with it immediately because of the adrenaline rush it gives me,” she confessed. “I’m the happiest I can be when I step on that court. Gabby and I had tremendous success as a team. I think a large part of that is because our bond extends beyond volleyball.”
It was the sister of one of Gabby’s friends who introduced her to beach volleyball. She gave it a try and was hooked. It was natural to pull her best friend into the sand.
“We went to rival high schools,” Gabby explained, “but, yes, it is hard when you see your best friend on the other side of the net.”
Gabby was only 16 when she committed to a scholarship offer from the University of Southern California. Her parents supported her decision.
“Volleyball has taught me so many lessons,” Gabby continued. “I learned I can achieve whatever I want if I dedicate myself. I know I can do it – whatever ‘it’ is.
“I learned the importance of balance in all areas of life, complemented with a high level of optimism in whatever I’m facing. Yes, sometimes social life takes a hit but that’s why you learn to prioritize.
“Maggie and I won 10 National Championships together during our junior career. I think that illustrates how serious we are about the sport.”
Gabby intends to go pro after college.
Maggie, too, has conquered a list of life lessons while running through the sand.
“I learned the values of trust, determination, and perseverance,” she said. “I’ll have those qualities for the rest of my life, and they’ll affect everything I do.
“I have a boyfriend. He’s also an athlete so he understands the demands and the priorities. I’m undecided about my college major, but I feel strongly about pursuing professional volleyball.”
Maggie is honest when she says, “It’ll be an adjustment to play with someone else, but I think I’ll learn a new partner’s tendencies and techniques quickly. I’m excited about the opportunity. I also believe all our years of playing together prepared us perfectly for the next level. I’m confident each of us is ready for whatever is thrown at us.”
Both young ladies are incredibly proud of representing the U.S. in the 2022 USA National Beach Tour Junior Championship. And, yes, they won.