• Jayden J Bartlett

Elke Jarvis - the Moose

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

Let’s have a quick look at Moose’s; they are powerful and majestic creatures that are usually calm unless you do something to annoy them, in which case you’re in big trouble.

However, not all Moose’s are accomplished football and volleyball players. Despite the fact that she won’t be willing to admit it, this makes Elke Jarvis quite unique.

Unlike me, who got the nickname off a shirt; Elke nickname origins are a little more evident than mine.

It is in her name; but it only seems fitting that she possess the qualities that I previously mentioned.

Off the field she’s passionate and dedicated and extremely kind; however, you definitely wouldn’t want to be the person who has to go up against her on the footy field.

This is not because she is an aggressive player; it is because she is a very talented player.

Her height and strong hands make her a formidable opponent in the air while her quick pace and agility means she is just as dangerous when the ball comes to ground.

Just to prove that I am not the only one who sees this; Elke’s fellow South Adelaide teammate, Sam Pratt also shares a similar view on the talented player;

“Elke is easily one of the nicest players I have ever met; but the white line fever can hit her hard, on that field she’s so strong and tough” (Sam Pratt, 2019).

As for how she has become a valuable part of South Adelaide’s premiership winning defence; Elke’s successful sports career goes all the way back to high school.

In fact, a lot of Elke’s signature playing style would have been developed and perfected through her outstanding volleyball career;

“I've been playing volleyball for 12 years; started at Willunga High School then went on to play state league for South Adelaide, which led to playing for the Adelaide Storm in the Australian Volleyball League.”

The earliest success for the humble player came during high school as well;

“Our school team at Willunga won bronze and silver medals at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup.”

And it was something that occurred during one of these school cups that Elke still remembers and cherishes to this day;

“Probably one of the things that sticks out in my mind is the comeback that my school volleyball team managed to pull off to make it into the Gold medal match at Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne.”

“We were down 2 sets to zero in a best of 5 match, against a team that was extremely well structured and experienced - unlike us. We managed to claw ourselves back into the game and make it to the 5th set, where we found ourselves 12-5 down. First to 15 wins the game.”

“Somehow, we fought back to be up match point on 13-14, then served to win the game. We ended up going on to lose the gold medal match, but in our minds that game was our gold medal.”

It is almost poetic that Elke went from playing at Willunga to South Adelaide in both volleyball and football;

“I started playing footy at Willunga in 2017 then got picked up by South Adelaide for the 2018 season.”

As for volleyball with South Adelaide;

“My club team at South Adelaide was a really young group when I first joined so we spent a couple of years fighting hard to only win a handful of games. We have stuck it out and with the same core group we have played finals for the last three years. Hoping to get the job done this year and take out the GF.”

And as for football at South Adelaide;

“It’s like a big family. So many people and everyone is always there for each other. It’s really good, you feel like you can come here and be a part of something. Whether that’s as a player, as a support or on the sideline.”

However, it is understandably difficult to juggle the two different sporting careers;

“It's very difficult! I want to commit to both but it's pretty much impossible. I usually hate doing things by halves, but I love both the sports, so I try my best to make it work.”

Considering she loves both sports and dare I say it, she is also very talented at both sports; the thing that she loves most about volleyball however is;

“I love the mental aspect of the game. The fact that the net separates you from the opposition means it's basically impossible to use physicality to your advantage. You have to be mentally strong and disciplined.”

“I also like the way it levels the playing field. Sure, you can win points by being big and strong, but a smart player and smart teams will win more. It relies so heavily on communication as well as establishing systems within the team and sticking to them, so it creates a very tight knit environment which I love.”

But not only does she love volleyball, she also holds some responsibility within the game;

“I was vice captain last year. This year I had to take a step back from the leadership role due to footy commitments. With the extended SANFLW season there's a bit more crossover where I'm trying to manage both sports at once.”

And this management of the two sports would be difficult considering her sporting career goes “literally all year round”.

“Footy goes into state league volleyball which goes into AVL which goes into footy and around it all goes. I haven’t had a Tuesday or Thursday night to myself for about three years.”

But as she mentioned before, she loves both sports. This in addition to Elke’s passion and dedication means that she will not simply give up on one of these sports.

And this dedication is evident when she began playing football. Striving to be the best she can all while remaining the positive and upbeat Elke that fans and players have grown to love.

When starting out;

“Parts of it translated well, like jumping and diving. The fitness systems that each sport uses are completely different though, I had to make running my friend”.

“There also the physical element of footy that took a bit of getting used to, but it didn't take too long. I've grown up watching footy so it's not like it was anything completely new to me!”

Joining South Adelaide’s inaugural senior women’s side in 2018, Elke was more of a ruck/forward role.

Transitioning the skills that she had developed over all the years of playing volleyball; she made her debut in round two of the 2018 season.

However, given South Adelaide’s strength in the midfield, she found it hard to make her way back into the team and to make matters worse, an injury ruled her out of most of the remaining local football games.

But Elke was not going to just give up and quit that easily. In 2019, she returned with a new role as a defender;

“It was a big change! Playing down back was something I had never done before, although my playing history isn't extensive so now I've probably played in the back lines more than anywhere else.”

“I really liked it, it's a different kind of pressure and you can sometimes feel like it's all down to you if the opposition scores, but that's where the mental strength I gained from volleyball helped out. It's important to balance playing with urgency with staying relaxed.”

Not only did she like it, but she was also impressive at it. Making her first appearance for the 2019 season in round eight, Elke never looked back and made the absolute most of the opportunity.

She would go on to play the remaining five games of the season while showcasing her tremendous, volleyball inspired skill set; which saw her display strong hands, quick pace and a high awareness.

Collecting 20 disposals, seven marks and eight tackles across those five games; she also did some game winning actions. Most notable was the chase down during the dying stages of South’s semi-final victory.

All of this added up and by the time the Grand Final came around, the Moose was a fan favourite and a cult figure of the backlines.

Undoubtedly helped by the fact that this outstanding player was very humble and kind as soon as she stepped off the oval.

Being a part of the 2019 SANFLW Grand Final is another experience that Elke will cherish for a long time;

“It was such an amazing experience! I don't think I've played any sport in front of that many people and hearing the crowd react to moments in the game, it creates a feeling you just can't describe. It was great to see so many people supporting women's footy.”

Now that she can say that she has achieved success in two different sports; the next step for her is;

“I would love to kick a goal or two in SANFLW - every backliners dream.”

“I'd also love to play for Adelaide Storm in the AVL again this year and make it to the championship rounds, something that we haven't done for a number of years.”

“My main goal though is to just keep learning and developing as an athlete for as long as I can. Sport gives me something to look forward to every day so I want to put as much into it as I can, while I can!”

One thing that she will continue to do is making lifelong friends. An indication of her wholesome nature, she has already become a much-loved character of two different sporting clubs.

She holds all teammates in a high regard, however, there are some people she must give recognition to;

“I've been really lucky to play alongside so many talented people. On the footy field it's so great to play alongside Hammo. I played with her in her first game of footy and I knew straight away she was going to go far.”

“Also really love playing with Spratty at South and at Christies Beach - the bravest footballer I've seen! On the volleyball court I'm lucky enough to play in the same team as my sister, we even play the same position, so we help each other out all the time.”

“Sarah Wright is an amazing team player that I love working with in the back lines. She's so young and has so much footy ahead of her but still takes a leadership role and gives everything to the team.”

And these views are mutually shared between them; with another fellow teammate, Cheyenne Hammond, sharing generous words during last season;

“Elke is a smart player and very consistent. She always walks off the field giving everything she’s got. She’s a pleasure to play with and is very positive on the field” (Cheyenne Hammond, 2018).

And given this positive and laidback nature; she would like to thank;

“All the coaches I've ever had. I've learnt something from each and every one of them that has helped me become the player I am now. And all the teammates I've had, who have helped me along the way.”

“In particular my cousin Megan who convinced me to play footy and convinced me to trial for South. Also, my sister Chloe for making the switch to club volleyball with me when we knew absolutely nobody.”

And she would also like to give advice to those who are trying to juggle two sports;

“I would say it's difficult, but you're obviously doing it because you love both sports. Make sure to take a deep breath if you need to and remember that all this effort, you're putting into it is helping you move forward. Confide in your teammates and coaches. Focus on the things that bring you enjoyment and use that for motivation to keep going.”

At the end of the day, Elke has a very bright career in two different sports. However, she will not change from the great character she is today; because she has already achieved a lot of success, yet she is still very helpful, humble and kind.

I have witnessed this kind and helpful nature firsthand, so it is safe to say that Elke will continue to be a wonderful character to have around her respective sporting clubs as she continues to work hard for even more success.

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