Growing up I tried every sport you could think of…
Soccer came to an end after a number of balls flying towards my head scared me away.
Swimming came to an end after I decided to stop listening to the teachers as laps were boring.
Gymnastics was only fun because I got to jump on trampolines.
Skating was just scary.
I tried it all…nothing ever stuck.
Since I was little I have had a fascination for animals, horses in particular. It wasn’t until I got on a horse that I really stuck to something.
But that’s for a future story.
You see…there was something missing. I wanted to be a part of something bigger.
I wanted a team.
I remember growing up watching my sister play volleyball. I always ducked in the bleachers in fear of the balls flying towards my head (as soccer taught me are not fun to be hit with), unfortunately missing most of the game while hiding.
I do however remember the team pancake breakfasts that I always wanted to be a part of and watching her bond with her teammates after a win.
I wanted that…
So I went to my first ever volleyball camp at Mount Saint Vincent University, Coached by Derrick Brooks, at the age of 12.
Boy was I bad.
Starting junior high in September, I knew I would be old enough to try out for school sports teams, as my school was from primary to grade 9, this was a big milestone for the 7th graders.
So I practiced…and practiced…
And I got cut.
However, not even for a second did I think about giving up. In fact I made my first club team that year as part of The Bedford Blizzards Volleyball Club, coached by Al Scott.
By the next year I was captain of that very same junior high school team.
Over the years I have spent countless hours hitting volleyballs against the garage, or in the gym, whenever I was able to get there.
I was good at something for the first time in my life. People watched me, and it felt amazing. It was the first place I was comfortable being looked at as a “tall girl”. I had a goal and it was to one day play on a university team.
When I made Team Nova Scotia for the first time at the age of 13, it felt like that dream could be in reach.
Playing volleyball everyday, all year round, Made it near impossible to have a social life outside of the sport.
I didn’t really mind.
I had my teams. Those girls made the sport everything it was and I owe it all to them. I’ve played with and against them all over the years, but no matter what, they were, and still are, always greeted with a hug.
We had something special as our Bedford Blizzards team changed very little over my 5 years at the club. Our team had an amazing bond, we always had the most fun, that’s for sure. Although we were good, when we did lose, it was easy for us to pick each other up and move on. We owe it all to Al. He and his daughter Sam coached us through each year…we were a family.
In my final club year I played for the Tigers Volleyball Club as most of my teammates left to focus on their school and social lives. Unfortunately, my mental health was at an all time low that year for other reasons but luckily I had Alex Barrett and Sam Sanders, my Tiger’s coaches, as an amazing support system and I owe them so much.
Club volleyball gave me everything and more, and having to say goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But I didn’t know what was coming.
I decided to attend Mount Saint Vincent University in September of this past year. I went there with only one thing in mind. I was going to make the varsity volleyball team, the same one I watched play at camp when I was only 12. The same team I thought was the most amazing thing in the world right before getting cut from my first Junior High team.
It all comes full circle.
Being offered a spot on the team by Derrick was the single most amazing feeling in the world. That was it…the one thing I had been dreaming of and working towards since 12 years old. Wow.
The next few months involved some of the most amazing moments in volleyball of my life. I was able to experience being a starter on a university volleyball team (partially because of a few injuries but nonetheless deserved). I led blocking stats in the ACAA while I was starting and was getting kills as a rookie playing against some of the best teams in our league.
I was on top of the world while playing.
The girls made it even better. They were my new family. Each one making me laugh more then I ever had, and I got excited to go to our practices early to see them.
Unfortunately school was another story…I realized, as much as I wanted to, I could not attend university just to play varsity volleyball. My mental health was once again plummeting and it was making me perform poorly at practice.
I had to make a decision.
That was the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn…
Leaving those girls was impossible…but did they ever still make me feel included and for that I have to thank them. For still inviting me out on your nights off, and for the texts checking in on me, you were more then just a team to me. I owe it all to you guys and the amazing MSVU women’s volleyball coaching staff.
I even left my mark on assistant coach Kevin Reid as he went through with getting a tattoo design I created for him put permanently on his skin.
Everybody stops playing at some point, but this isn’t it for me. I will sure be around coaching as it’s always been a passion of mine, and you may even see me playing in the women’s league as those ladies can compete!
I wouldn’t be where I am now having never gotten the opportunities that volleyball has given me, nor would I have travelled to all the amazing places across Canada that I have been.
Thank you to the sport that gave me everything.
If you or anyone you know knows a young child interested in playing volleyball please contact:
Bedford Blizzard Volleyball Club
1289 Shore Drive, Bedford, NS
Mount Saint Vincent Volleyball