“It can get rough when I’m writing a paper because I sound out English words differently than regular Americans do, so sometimes it’s a bit harder for me,” said Grobbelaar, who recently turned 18. “Thank goodness for Spell Check. It’s a lifesaver.”
Grobbelaar, who has helped lead the Lady Crusaders volleyball team to its current record of 20-1, has lived in the United States since she was seven years old and is a legal resident. She said she didn't have a truly hard time adjusting to understanding the English language, since she learned some core English words as a youth. The only major adjustment for her was getting used to the different school year in the U.S. — in South Africa, school starts in February and ends around Christmas.
"Around Christmas in Durban, it's like the summer break here," she said. "Plus it's a lot warmer there in December. I'm not a fan of the cold winter weather in the U.S. at all."
Grobbelaar talks and acts like a typical American teenager and she even has a pretty good sense of humor.
“I do have a green card, but I was disappointed when I finally got it because it was actually beige,” she said. “I also didn’t ride elephants in South Africa, I always wore clothes as a kid and there was a McDonalds around town for us to go to.”
Grobbelaar, who also speaks Durban’s language of Afrikaans, has been playing sports ever since she was a child. She swam, ran track and played netball in Durban and started playing soccer in the second grade here in the U.S. Grobbelaar started playing volleyball as a sophomore at GC; she didn’t play as a freshman at Spalding High since the public high schools in Griffin don’t feature volleyball.
Grobbelaar’s not the only athlete in the family — her younger brother Dewald is a member of the GC football team and her father was a professional rugby player in South Africa.
Grobbelaar, who stands 5-foot-10, admits that volleyball would probably be her favorite sport, if she was forced to pick a favorite.
“Volleyball is seriously fun and it’s a team sport,” she said. “Everyone has to work as a team with the passes and the sets to be successful. I like soccer a lot too — I’m very good at kicking the ball.”
Grobbelaar hopes to be successful enough this year to play volleyball in college, possibly trying to enroll at Truett-McConnell with teammate and good friend Brittany Foster.
“I would love to play volleyball in college. That would be a dream come true,” she said.