Kome family connects through Hickman volleyball

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:39 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Chloe Kome, a senior on the Hickman High School varsity volleyball team, celebrates after a point during her game against Wentzville Holt on Thursday. James Kome, seated, Chloe's father and the Hickman junior varsity coach, cheers on the team from the sidelines.

COLUMBIA — For the Kome family, the car ride home after a game is different than most athletic families.

For James Kome, Hickman's junior varsity volleyball coach, it’s an opportunity to give his thoughts on his daughters’ performances. Whether or not Chloe and Natalia Kome enjoy the conversation is a whole other story.

"I definitely think they dread the ride home," James Kome said before laughing "They usually get an earful of my personal analysis."

James Kome doesn’t directly coach either of his daughters because Chloe Kome plays on the varsity team and Natalia Kome is on the freshman team. As a result, if he has any major suggestions, he will go to the girls’ respective coaches about it. As far as the minor tweaks, the car ride is fair game.

"The car rides home are definitely interesting," Chloe Kome said. "We usually go over everything that happens, but since I’m related to him, sometimes I’m just like, 'OK Dad.'"

"The car ride is always a long conversation about what happened that day,” Natalia Kome said. “Having him there does help out a lot."

With her father coaching and her sister playing, Natalia Kome admitted there was a little bit of pressure to carry on the family volleyball tradition.

"At first I was playing because I felt that I wanted to follow the family sport," Natalia Kome said. "But I loved it immediately, and I am glad that I am continuing to play."

It took some motivation to get Natalia Kome to try out for the team. Chloe Kome's face lights up when asked about her little sister.

"I definitely think she looks up to me," Chloe Kome said with a huge smile. "She had some rough experiences with previous teams, but it took me about 45 minutes to convince her to try out for the team. I think this year is proving to be a better experience for her."

Chloe Kome has also tried to give her sister as many pointers as possible, however, she said her help isn’t always needed.

"Sometimes she isn’t very receptive when I try to coach her,” Chloe Kome said. “At times she will tell me to shut up, or that she doesn’t care."

"She means well, but sometimes she is a little bossy," Natalia Kome said. "She likes to help even if I don’t really need it."

Both of the girls laugh at the idea of Chloe trying to coach Natalia all of the time. They also smile when they talk about how competitive they are with each other.

"I would say we are both competitive, but I kind of don’t stand a chance," Natalia Kome said. "She is amazing at what she does, and most of the times I have to surrender."

Chloe does not dispute the comment. With three years of playing experience, the senior setter is plenty confident.

"Being the older one, I feel I need to be better than her," Chloe Kome said. "But she is definitely improving, and I think she is one of the best players on her team."

James Kome is quick to point out the differences in his two daughters.

"Natalia is more laid back and even keeled, while Chloe has a little bit more competitive fire,” James Kome said. “They have very different personalities, but I think their personalities make each of them better players."

In the end, James Kome said he is enjoying the opportunity to watch his daughters develop.

"It has been a really good arrangement because I get to watch them every day and see them improve," James Kome said. "Next year it will be interesting because Natalia could be on my team. That will be a whole other story."

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.

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