Even though the calendar says summer doesn’t end until the middle of September, it always feels like September 1st should be the first day of fall. Maybe it’s because school’s going back, Vancouver has reclaimed its title of Raincouver with a vengeance, or maybe I’m the only one who feels like this. Either way, here are some highlights from BCO's summer of success.
Alumni at the Senior Women’s National Team Tryouts | In May, Volleyball Canada held an open tryout to select the Senior Women’s National B Team. This team trains with the National A team for a month, playing an integral role in preparing the squad for international competitions and Olympic qualifiers. The tryout drew national team hopefuls and future Olympic dreamers from across the country, including 5 BCO athletes. 18U’s Shae Harris, Sarah Chase, Tessa May, and Dayna Kern headed straight to Winnipeg after winning Gold at Club Nationals in Calgary. Joined by 2012 alumnus (18U National 4th Place finisher) and current SFU libero, Alison McKay, the girls went through a grueling 4-day tryout complete with two-a-days and fitness testing.
We should mention/toot our own horn that your average (or even above average) high-school players are way out of their league at anything Senior National Team related, so even just keeping up at the tryout was a feat in itself.
At the end of the tryout, the news started trickling back to Vancouver that our BCO players absolutely crushed it. In fact, three of them were offered one of nine available spots on the squad. Harris, Chase, and McKay were officially one GIANT step closer to the National A Team and possibly Olympic dreams.
Of course, participating in any iteration of the Senior National Team sounds like a no-brainer, but I think it’s important to mention the sacrifices these athletes (and so many more) have made in their volleyball careers for the opportunity. McKay commuted to play with BCO from Port Coquitlam, essentially spending the same amount of time getting to practice as she did actually practicing. Chase packed up her life at the ripe old age of 16 to move from Campbell River to North Vancouver to train with BCO, completely uprooting herself from her family and friends to chase the dream (oooh was that a pun? I’ll let you be the judge.). Harris, a native North Vancouverite, was slated to be Carson Graham Secondary’s co-Valedictorian this year – an honour she had to forego to stay in Winnipeg and train with the National Teams. These kids aren’t joking around, but I guess that’s why they were selected and why we’re so very proud of them.
Myeloma Fundraiser Match | There are two rules to trash talking:
1. Don’t say anything you can’t back up
2. Always follow Rule #1
Back at one practice in April, resident trash-talker/2015 18U Elite Coach, Dan Huzar, broke all the rules and told 18U Elite right side/ridiculously good beach volleyball player, Nicole McNamara, that he could beat her and her twin sister in a beach volleyball match. Always up for a “challenge”, Nicole agreed and Dan somehow roped 18U Black Coach/actual beach volleyball player, Wes Webb, into being his partner. Next thing we knew, Volleyball BC had graciously agreed to let us use the feature court before the annual Clearly Open and the event would be a fundraiser for Myeloma Canada. It was a legit thing. Dan was legit wishing he followed Rules #1 and #2.
There was a lot of hype leading up to the July 9th face off, and the match didn’t disappoint. We raised just under $2400 for Myeloma Canada, convincingly exceeding our $2000 goal. Spoiler alert: the twins took the match in a generous 3 sets, but I think it’s safe to say it was a win all around! Relive the full match here, including Dan utilizing his medical time out and some peer-pressured induced skyballs.
PS Nic & Megan went on to win the pro division of the Clearly Open that weekend (for the second year in a row)...maybe a result of their great warm-up match competition? Or a result of their talent and hard work? One of these options seems much more likely...
North Shore Beach | Neil Sulkus, BCO’s co-founder who passed away last year, was a driving force behind promoting beach volleyball on the North Shore and the implementation of the sand courts at the Lonsdale Shipyards. As a result of Neil’s hard work, an increasing amount of indoor players have made the seasonal transition to the sand without having to drive 45 minutes to Kits Beach.
In 2015, BCO joined up with North Shore Stars Volleyball Club to form North Shore Beach and bring beach volleyball camps to the Shipyards. We ran training camps from June to August for beginner to advanced athletes who wanted to learn the game. To all of the athletes who took part in our camps, I hope you’re excited for how high you’ll be able to jump in indoor. Honestly, apart from the sunshine, great atmosphere, and other fabulous factors, transitioning from jumping on sand to hardwood floor is a great ego boost.
In all seriousness, it was so awesome to see Neil’s dream realized. The work he started is by no means finished, but we are well on our way. Less than 300 days until next year’s beach season!
Gold Streak Continues at Team BC | For a normal human, 2 gold medals at the highest level of high-school volleyball in one year seem like enough. Dan Huzar (coach) and Betsie de Beer (player and overall angel) are not normal humans. The two brought home the 18U Provincial and National Gold in the 2015 club season, but then continued the medal hunt with 18U Team BC. Huzar and de Beer, along with the rest of Team BC, trained long and hard in Whistler to prepare for NTCC’s (National Team Challenge Cup) in Richmond, and Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo, Alberta. And, if you didn’t deduce from the title of the section, they took home the gold at both, bringing them to 4 gold medals in 2015. Move over, Michael Phelps.
High School Prep Camps | Studies have shown that kids are rusty when they come back to school after 2 months of summer vacation. Wait…was that a legitimate excuse to run some volleyball camps? Well, don’t mind if we do.
While others are out buying new pencils, going over their multiplication tables, and re-reading Catcher and the Rye, we prefer to focus on the really important stuff: dusting off those court shoes. School is obviously very important, I mean, if you didn’t go to school you wouldn’t be allowed to play high school volleyball! (But seriously kids, stay in school and study hard, that knowledge is actually useful for your future.)
Highlights from camps definitely included extreme bumper ball and whatever else goes down this week. OK, maybe summer isn’t quite over yet...