With great power comes great responsibility. No one knows this better than Dinos men's volleyball captain, Scott Price.
Price made his start in the sport in his hometown of Whitehorse when, after playing hockey, basketball and golf for a number of years, he went to high school and spent time in a newly formed territorial league. After a timely growth spurt and rampant success in his various volleyball endeavours, a contact at Grant MacEwan College arranged an invitation to practice with the Alberta provincial team and a spot on the school's team, where he spent three years.
Price cites the relationships he acquired as a large reason why he got hooked on volleyball.
"I just enjoyed playing and it was a lot of fun," he says. "I really enjoyed the team aspect and I got along really well with the guys I was playing with."
The lanky english major made the jump to CIS after being recruited to the Dinos for the 2006-07 season where he experienced a lot of personal success, finishing fourth in the Canada West conference in kills, averaging 3.52 in 73 games, and second in total points.
Though not his first experience with the team, becoming captain this season presented Price a bit of a learning curve. Not only did he take on a new leadership role, but went from being one of the youngest players on the team to one of the oldest.
"At first, it took a little bit of getting used to because I went from looking after what I was doing on the court and listening to what other people said," he explains. "The expectation kind of changed and I had to be more concerned with what the whole team was doing. People were looking to me for more insight, answers and comments. I enjoyed filling that role."
His initial uncertainty didn't show as the team set a new standard for themselves, opening their season with a split against the University of British Columbia--who was ranked third in the country at the time--and taking on some post-season action, making it into the playoffs for the first time since 2003. In numbers alone, the volleysaurs made great strides, finishing 8-10 compared to the previous season's 4-14 showing.
With Price's CIS eligibility finished this season, he looks back on his last Dinos run with high praise for their coach, Rod Durrant, and his work with the team.
"He's been around it for a lot of years and coached at many different levels," he explains. "He knows a lot about the technical side of volleyball from passing to serving and he's always looking to improve on your performance technically. So, if you're doing something wrong on your serve receive, he'll tell you and show you how to fix it. He's very competitive, which I think is a good thing to have in a coach."
Price says Durrant also took some unconventional focuses for the team's success that were very beneficial.
"He's also very interested in the psychology of sport," says Price. "He brought in a sports psych guy to help the players work on their mental states and coping mechanisms and the best way with dealing with pressure, how to make everything feel as possible when you're playing."
The captain's closing thoughts on the season also involve a lot of reflection on how the team can improve their showing for next year.
"There are always things that people can improve on," he says. "To be really successful at this level, you need to be able to serve consistently and aggressively and I think that's one thing our team was really missing. We had guys who could hit really good spin serves but we didn't always necessarily do it game in, game out. When our serve receive got into trouble, that's when we had the most problems, because it makes it hard to run an offence."
As for Price himself, he has put a great emphasis on the importance of volleyball in his life and hopes to play professionally in Europe or South America next year. Barring that, he says that the Dinos will always be a priority in my life.
"If the pro thing doesn't work, I'll be back here in the fall finishing my degree, so I'd like to help out at practice and be around the team a little bit," he says. "A lot of the guys on the team will be around for three or four more years. Knowing that many guys on the team means that it will still mean a lot to be a part of it next year."