One volleyball player has proven that age isn’t everything.
Cale Kooyman, 13, is one of the younger players selected to play on the Zone 4 volleyball team for this year’s Alberta Winter Games in Banff and Canmore.
Kooyman said that, above all, he excited to be on the team and is looking forward to the whole experience of participating in the Games.
“I think I’m most excited for being (part) of a team,” said Kooyman, who has already left for the Games which begin today.
Kooyman started playing volleyball last year for Lacombe Christian School. He said he enjoys the teamwork aspect of the sport and being part of that team.
Typically, Kooyman plays as a setter. However, for the Winter Games he will be switching position to right side. He added he believes the change will help him become a stronger player and more completely develop his skills in volleyball.
After hearing about this year’s Games from his coach, Kooyman decided to try out for the volleyball team. He added that he also had knowledge of the Games from his older brother Aiden, who had participated in a previous Alberta Winter Games.
At the tryouts, Cale was a little intimidated. He said that because he knew he was one of the younger players trying out there would be many other players with more experience than him and he thought his chances of making the team were somewhat slim.
“I was very nervous. There were like 30 people there and only 12 could make the team.”
Cale’s mother Vivian on the other hand was not nervous for her son. In fact, she said she thought his chances of making the team were quite strong.
“I’m confident in his skill level,” said Vivian, adding that her son has had strong coaching so far in his volleyball career and therefore has a solid skill set for the game.
While coaches at the tryouts did not share their reasons for selecting Cale with him, Vivian said that she was told it was because of that strong skill set and Cale being a well-balanced, all-around player.
Towards the end of the tryouts, Cale got a little more comfortable, but was still quite nervous, he said. Luckily, his anxieties were quickly put to rest. As soon as the tryouts were done, he found out he made the team.
“I was excited to be a part of it, because I was really hoping for it, to be part of the team,” said Cale. He added that he was also excited to be playing in the older U15 age group with a higher level of competition and intensity.
At 13, Cale will be playing in an age division higher than what is normal at the Alberta Winter Games. He will also be playing with a new set of teammates.
Luckily, Cale and the rest of his team have had the opportunity to practice prior to playing at the games. He added that while he is new to the group, a lot of the other players have already played together and should function well as a unit.
Although Cale is younger than most of the players he will be playing with and against at the Alberta Winter Games, he said that he has some experience playing older players and is confident he can compete at their level.