“I needed a moment,” she said.
Arrington was upset because her players weren’t performing like she knew they could, a frustration rooted in her love of the team and passion for the sport. She experiences that same unique feeling of frustration today, even though Wilson (7-5) has won 14 of the past 15 D.C. public school titles.
“It hurts me to my heart that we keep winning,” Arrington, 40, said. “I wish volleyball across D.C. would just be better. We’re just not competitive with Maryland and Virginia and the D.C. private schools, unfortunately.”
The Tigers are undefeated in conference play again this season and have won twice by forfeit. As a result, Wilson is the only public school in D.C. to play an out-of-conference schedule. Arrington said her players would never be exposed to routine plays, such as blocks and digs, if they only played league matches.
“If we just played league, they wouldn’t even know what we were doing in practice,” she said.
The 2011 All-Met Coach of the Year has done her best to boost the volleyball culture in the District over the past 14 seasons. This year, she is hosting the third annual Tiger Paws Tournament, a Dig Pink event on Oct. 19 to raise money for breast cancer research through the Side-Out Foundation.
Arrington also takes players to skills clinics and college matches in the area. She said other D.C. public schools do not pursue these opportunities.
“I’m trying,” Arrington said. “But I can’t force people to understand the importance of our sport. It hurts that [D.C. public schools] spend more time on boys’ basketball and football than they do on women’s sports. They miss out on an opportunity.”
Arrington has noticed improvement under DCIAA Athletic Director Stephanie Evans, but said there is still more to be done. A call to Evans for comment Wednesday was not immediately returned.
With the absence of strong league competition, Arrington takes more pride in her team’s quality of play. She sometimes tells young players that she has a crystal ball and can see the players that they are capable of becoming.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, she’s right,” junior Alexis Coates said.
“She really has a lot of faith in us,” senior Kristina Johnson added. “She keeps pushing us even if we don’t believe that we can necessarily do that. She still pushes us because she sees that something in us.”
Frustrations with DCIAA competition, Arrington has no plans to leave Wilson. She envisions settling down and starting a family, but even in those visions, she is coaching in the Wilson gym with a baby strapped to her chest.
“Why stay at Wilson? I don’t know, other than I love these girls,” Arrington said. “To me, it’s not okay just to have the sport. What do we have the sport for? What is the bigger picture? Do we just want them to play, or do we want them to excel in it? I want the girls here to have the opportunities that I had.”