Tag: athletics

Why I love sports: A reflection on the volleyball home-opener

I’ve never been all that great at sports, which is a funny thing to say, seeing as I’m on the CMU Women’s volleyball team.

Contact-sports frighten me (no need to push, just ask for the basketball and I’ll probably give it to you), my lanky limbs usually don’t work well as a team (if I’m kicking a ball you’re all in danger), and strapping shoes with blades to my feet and putting me on ice?! What are you thinking (I still don’t know how to stop on skates, I just turn in circles or brace for the boards…).

Chloe Friesen (centre) and team celebrate after a point

But something about volleyball just kind of clicked with me, and I’m so grateful it did, because I love sports. And I love them for more than just the game, or the points, or the jersey. I love them because of what happened yesterday, the day of our volleyball home-opener. Let me explain…

The day started off like any other Wednesday: I woke up, ate breakfast, and headed off to my Group Communications class. Following class was practice time. But, instead of using our typical afternoon practice slot for, well, you know, practicing, our coach (the illustrious Jayme Menzies) had arranged a different way for us to spend the afternoon.

The CMU Blazers women’s volleyball team and girls from Fisher River Cree Nation

Cue our new friends from Fisher River Cree Nation. Ten wonderful girls who came for a day packed with their favourite sport. Like with any new situation, the girls were timid and quiet at the beginning. We were all different ages, all had different stories that had brought us here, and you could feel a tenseness in the space due to the newness of the situation. But set up a net and toss in a ball? We had a noisy gym full of new friends in no time.

This is why I love sports.

We spent the afternoon practicing our volleyball skills, cheering the girls on, and celebrating every point like it was the game-winner of the finals. It was by simply standing on the court that I learned that my new pals loved Instagram too, that some of the memes I was using were outdated, and that sometimes the smallest girls jump the highest. Seeing these young girls gaze up at our Blazers with the most attentive grins, hanging onto every word and piece of advice we gave, was something I’ll never forget.

This is why I love sports.

CMU Blazer Annika Loeppky practices with a student from Fisher River Cree Nation

With a “THREE, TWO, TEAM!” we said our “see you laters” (the girls would also be attending our game that night) and headed out to our respective classes or study sessions. We at least had to do a little bit of schoolwork before the big game that evening.

Now, volleyball home games usually draw in a few fans, but little did we know that Residence Director and resident Blazers hype-man, Charlie Peronto, had a little something up his sleeve. What do you get when you put together a DIY poster station, free Halloween candy, costumes, and hilarious between-set games? Bleachers full of classmates and friends, hooting and hollering, blowing off some mid-term season stress and life’s troubles in the very best way. It was a gym full of joy like I haven’t felt before. That’s the only way I can put it.

This is why I love sports.

Residence Director Charlie Peronto and CMU students cheer on their team

Sure, both the men’s and women’s teams won their matches in straight sets (#goblazers), but that wasn’t close to the highlight of the evening for me. It was glancing at the stands while I was grabbing water from the bench and seeing a sea of people who I love so dearly, cheering, laughing, and dancing. It was congratulating and celebrating with my teammates after each point, and feeling so grateful that they are also my friends. It was waving to the girls from Fisher River Cree Nation, wearing their new Blazers jerseys with the biggest smiles.

This is why I love sports.

– Chloe Friesen, 3rd Year Communications and Media Student

On the court and in the classroom: A challenging transition

Growing up in Morris, Manitoba just south of Winnipeg, I was involved in sport starting in elementary school. I participated in many school sports, but invested most of my time in basketball, playing competitively from grade five until grade eleven.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

In grade ten, I began playing club volleyball, and continued into my graduating year. It was then I decided volleyball was the sport I wanted to pursue further at the University level.

Transitioning from high school into university has been a challenge on and off the court. On the court, the level of volleyball is an adjustment. We practice 3 times a week along with fitness once a week.

Having practices so often and league games every weekend takes time away from studies. This makes juggling homework and volleyball difficult. Though being a student athlete has its challenges, it’s helping me develop good time management skills.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

Another benefit of being involved in team sports is the sense of community that develops. Your team starts to act as a second family. They always have your back, and if you ever have a problem, they’re willing to listen and give feedback.

Being on a sports team has made the transition from high school to university much easier, creating opportunities for new friendships.

When I first came to CMU, I was skeptical of what university life was like. Being part of a new environment where you don’t know anyone, while trying to get to know the campus can be extremely intimidating.

However, being part of a sports team at CMU has given me a way to get to know other students through my teammates. All of the sports teams are relatively close too, so I’ve been able to connect with students on the other teams as well.

In high school, I relied on the Bible verse Philippians 4:13 to encourage me whenever I felt like giving up.

Jess Edel - On the Court and in the Classroom: A Challenging Transition

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” reminded me at many low moments that I can do all things, especially through the power of Jesus Christ. This scripture has continued to encourage me in life at CMU, both on the court and in the books.

The classes are larger, the professors are tougher, and the assignments are longer. This adjustment is hard for everyone coming out of high school, and can be even more challenging coming from a small, AA school in Morris, with 400 students attending from K-12.

It can seem intimidating and has its challenges, but I believe that with determination, hard work, and a strong faith, anyone can do it. If it weren’t for my amazing teammates, coaches, and peers, adapting to university life at CMU would be far more challenging.

Jessica Edel is a first year student, and member of the CMU women’s volleyball team from Morris, Manitoba.

Living on campus: Close to class, closer to community

You live 15 minutes away from here? Why do you live on campus? Isn’t it way more expensive than living at home?

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Well the practical answer is easy. Look at our roads right about now. Look at your thermometer, or, the weather app on your phone. Check your bus schedule, and find out that your daily commute is over an hour each way, and that’s when those Winnipeg buses are actually on time. 

So if I choose to live at home, I can either spend a pile of money on a car, or spend my most valuable resource – time – out in minus-40 weather.

That was enough to sell me on dorm life, and I hadn’t even set foot in Poettcker Hall yet.

The first thing I noticed was how great dorm life is as a stepping stone to adulthood. There’s no one checking in on you, making sure you follow rules or get to sleep at a decent hour, but you don’t have to worry about what to cook (or how to cook) every day. Ted Dyck and his crew take great care of that, and the food is unlimited!

6th year

Right from the start, you find out that there are always exciting events on campus, and there’s something for everyone. From incredibly talent-filled coffeehouses to Blazer game days at the Loewen, and everything in between, there’s always something to do. You’re a 30-second walk from chapel twice a week, Wednesday Night Worship, fellowship groups and many more opportunities to discuss and worship God.

There are some challenges as well. Chances are you will quickly have a new sense of appreciation for your mattress at home, or simple things like laundry machines that don’t require your hard-earned-Bible-camp salary to operate. You might come back to your room on a Sunday night to find 2000 water-filled Dixie cups covering every square inch of floor and table space, but hey, you left your door unlocked so what do you expect?

1st year

Most importantly, living on campus is the best way to experience community at CMU. I’ve lived in dorm, then at home, and now in apartments on campus and it’s clear that I’m closest to the people here when I live here. In my first year, I found myself staying up until two or three in the morning regularly, engaging in deep faith discussions with other first years. These were people going through the same life changes, anxious and stressful moments as me. I can honestly say that I learned more about my faith in those talks in my first semester than I had in any sermon or lecture.

CMU is a community, and the best way to experience it is being present all the time, and engaging in everything it has to offer. Take the plunge, move in, and you’ll feel it.

Thomas Friesen is a senior Communications and Media student from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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