When it comes to everyday life, establishing a routine is paramount to our well-being.
It provides structure and discipline. And it allows us to foster habits that match our goals and aspirations.
Having a comfort zone can be beneficial, as well. It allows us to stay focused and motivated to perform tasks efficiently.
Tyler Price, on the other hand, has no use for such habitual terms. In fact, the words "routine" and "comfort zone" have been outlawed from his gymnasium.
Instead, the Aurora fourth-year head volleyball coach prefers to take a page out of Mahatma Gandhi’s playbook.
That urgent message will be relayed repeatedly to a certain group of teenagers … over and over again.
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world," the 20th-century Indian anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist once said.
So far, so good.
The Greenmen are embracing their long-awaited escape from an insipid world of perpetual motion.
"This season will be fun," Price said. "All the players want to learn and they are willing to change what they do to better suit the team."
Last year’s version of Aurora volleyball found itself engulfed in an ocean of monotonous routine.
The Greenmen won some and they lost some. They showed flashes of brilliance and they showed flashes of vulnerability.
As a result, Aurora’s 2018 performance proved what it’s like for one to be trapped in his or her comfort zone.
The Greenmen finished 12-12 overall and 6-6 in the Suburban League American Conference.
Aurora’s season came to a close when it lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a Division I sectional title match.
There’s no escaping it: The Greenmen were average last year. Pardon Price if he’s not particularly enthused about taking 19th-century Irish poet Oscar Wilde’s advice.
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
Of course, Price may not have much of a choice when it comes to being rebellious toward conformity. His roster features a litter of fidgety cubs. These innocent but predatory felines can be found scurrying around a previously uninhabited den.
"We do have some youth and we will take our lumps at times," Price said. "In the end, it will pay off this season and seasons to come."
Being set in their ways certainly had its privileges for the Aurora players.
Four 2019 graduates, Morgan Copley, Brooke Besinger, Julia Robinson and Grace Tutkovics, ruled first, last and always when the Greenmen last competed on a volleyball court.
All four of those accomplished young ladies were multiple-year starters. And all four of them weren’t the least bit apprehensive when it came to taking the initiative.
Aurora isn’t the only participant involved in a massive makeover. The American Conference has been inflicted by a subtle but powerful force called "a change of scenery."
Not surprisingly, Price welcomes this purported hostile invasion.
"The conference is going through a sort of changing of the guard," he said. "A lot of teams, including mine, lost multiple-year starters to graduation. It will be a fun season to watch all the different teams."
This getaway plan from their comfort zone allows the Greenmen to avoid a rather treacherous path during the ides of October.
Aurora will no longer compete in the vaunted Division I dungeon when the postseason begins. The Greenmen will now face opponents that match their school’s enrollment statistics. Aurora will participate on the Division II level this fall.
"This means we play at a new location and we have new opponents," Price said. "Luckily, we have a very tough out-of-conference schedule with some neighboring Division I schools such as Stow, Hudson, [Akron Archbishop] Hoban and Cuyahoga Falls.
"We also have some Division II opponents such as Kenston, CVCA [Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy] and SVSM [Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary]. We have a nice blend to the season."
If the Greenmen yearn to break free from their comfort-zone imprisonment, they will need to do something they haven’t been able to do in recent years.
It has something to do with a lavishing trophy that is awarded to the conference sovereign.
For that to happen, the players will have to train their minds to think outside the box.
Or, as Albert Einstein put it: "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
The Greenmen will process such thoughts throughout the fall season.
And like the famous 20th-century theoretical physicist, they hope to develop their very own theory of relativity.
"The motto or theme this year is ‘This is our moment,’" Price said. "The seniors know this is their final chance to be the first team to win the conference. They want to mark their names in the history books at Aurora."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.