One of the strongest, most self-assured individuals I know. This kid will have an idea of what he wants to do and will just go guns-a-blazing until he gets the job done. I’m fairly certain he would have gone to the Olympics if he were in a sport like rowing or road biking; one of the hardest workers you will ever come across. Currently he’s up in Northern BC fighting fires and during the year he’s part of the Thompson Rivers Volleyball Team, and studying business. He decided after grade 10 that his sport was volleyball. It was a fairly surprising decision as there was no competitive school or club team for boys up on the Coast but that’s what he wanted – so he did it. He went in and played club volleyball in Vancouver in his grade 11 and 12 year and then signed with TRU shortly after that. He’s just a natural born athlete. Both he and Connor competed in every single sport there is possible up until a very late age... if you’re good at everything, you might as well do it all, right? They both participated in track and field, baseball and basketball when they were younger, volleyball, cross-country, they won the North Shore Triathlon Championships, they were avid wrestlers for more than 5 years and were both provincial wrestling champions in their weight class, as well as played soccer at the Gold 1 level for many, many years. We share the same sense of humor and can usually make each other double over in fits of laughter. If you check our facebook messages, the bulk of it includes hilarious children and animal videos. I’ve had many people tell me that if you know Stuart, you know me, and vise versa. He's always the one I turn to, especially if I need someone to agree with me; we're usually thinking along the same wavelength. Before last summer we were always in a trio and always referred to each other as "the sibs". It has been a tremendously hard year for the both us to lose one of our best friends and siblings but we continue to lean on each other for that extra support and become closer in the process. I have so much love for Baby Stu and he continues to be my rock every single day.
The first three words that come to mind are passion, dedication and hard work. Like Stuart, he competed in every single sport, and did it the best. Connor was the more flashier player; always had the brightest sport shoes, would pull all-star status moves around 3 defenders before sailing the soccer ball over the goalie, would always be upfront during cross-country races and right when the finish line was in sight – he’d take off as though he just started his race. Many of you who do know Connor know that his passion is golf. Him and that obnoxiously bright lime green bag and lion putter-cover would be up on the golf course at the crack of dawn until after dinner. Everyone said he was a pleasure to play with and always brought out their most competitive sides. Connor won the Sechelt Amateur Golf Tournament in 2013 and the Roberts Creek Golf Tournament the year before that – not an easy thing, as many pros were making the long trek to the Coast from all over BC. He was constantly telling me about all the pros he beat in the lower mainland tournaments and how much money he would have won if he turned pro. His best friend Jesse informs me that his usual game consisted of a +2 handicap which is about an average game of 70-72. WIthout a doubt he was going to make the PGA tour… it was just a matter of time. Unlike Stu or I who usually make a plan on how to get from A to B, Con would just do his own thing – he knew that it would all work out in the end. His smile and laugh were absolutely infectious. His “RichBoi” alter ego could get anyone pumped up in a matter of seconds. Even though his muscles could scare off a small child, underneath that exterior he had the biggest and softest heart. Babies and puppies, or anything cute and small, he would melt over and just become fixated. Con was usually the fastest to jump on the opportunity to poke fun of our dad and his impressions always had us crying of laughter at the dinner table. He was often the one to remind me to not worry about the small things and just appreciate where I was, what I was doing, and whom I was with at the time. Don’t take anything for granted – I learned that the hard way I guess. Last summer, a few days before Con and Stu’s 21st birthday, Connor passed away. It was a week before he left for a college in Texas on a golf scholarship to start his next adventure. This paragraph goes back and forth between past and present because I’m still not sure where everything fits in. All I know as that he was put on the Earth for so many reasons and in doing so he touched so many lives along the way. I’ve heard from a lot of people that after the first day of meeting Connor, it felt like you knew him. He held nothing back and loved with his whole heart. He is constantly on my mind and I know he will be guiding me throughout my entire life.
If you know me, you know my competitive nature. If you’ve met my dad, you understand where it came from. Dad coached me every sport when I was really young, most likely because he didn’t trust anyone else to instill the correct technique and teach me properly. In grade 3, he changed my birthdate so I was eligible to compete in the BC Elementary School Track & Field Championships. I ended up winning a medal in the 100m. In Elementary school PE classes he would recruit a few of my most athletic male friends and I and challenge the entire class. Giving your personal best was a must in his class – and if you were related to him, you better be the best. Coming to the national team and having to do fast footwork sprints and ladders I was already a pro – I had been doing them since grade 2 in Running Club. Big George was a super star back in the day as well; he was on the Canadian Wrestling team and competed all over the world. Dad actually visited me in Istanbul this past year and he hadn’t been back since he was 25 years old and competed at the World Championships, placing 6th (1974). He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the National Championships in 1976 placing first in Freestyle and 2nd in Greco to an American, both in separate weight classes, and won the CIS Nationals also in 2 different weight classes. In 1976 my Dad won the Olympic Trails in Greco but unfortunately due to a few political issues he wasn’t sent to the Olympics. I guess even 40 years ago politics still played a large role in sport!
Dad is from El Paso, Texas and grew up in a very large house with 5 other brothers. Not surprisingly, he was the most reckless and rambunctious of the 6. I think my grandmother should have been given some sort of award for being able to raise so many crazy boys. Usually my visits home will consist of heading to the weight room, climbing a mountain, and shooting guns with pops – target practice up the B&K road (mountain) has become a necessary activity during my breaks. He taught me a lot about perseverance and dedication; what are you doing right now that’s going to help your career, something that your opponents aren’t doing. Always be one step ahead and work twice as hard as anybody and everybody in the gym.
She’s a rockstar. She’s been my biggest cheerleader and advocate since day 1. It started when I was in grade 5 and made a Gold 1 team that was based out of Vancouver. 2-3 times a week she would drive me to practices and games in town – those ferry rides got a little bit tiresome. The driving, homemade lunches, and constant support continued throughout my sporting career. She never missed a home game when I played out at UBC and is still streaming all my overseas games. Track meets, cross-country races, soccer, basketball, and volleyball games, she was there for it all. I had the privilege of developing as a volleyball player under her for 10 years – I guess I could give her some of the credit. Even in high school I would look to her for technical solutions and she would always give me the right answer. I usually didn’t realize that in the moment… but a few points later when I would do what she told me, it usually worked out in my favor. I’ve begun to think of her as my personal therapists as well. She knows all my problems (lucky her!) and although her advice is sometimes a bit over-the-top for me, it almost always works. When I was going into grade 7 and all the "popular girls" were getting their bellybuttons pierced she told me to get mine done too (…I didn't…). Throughout high school I heard the phrase "you don't show enough skin Kyla, live a little!" It also always turned into an argument on whether or not I should wear a bra to my formal dances at school. Awkward pause. Thanks for being cooler than me, Mom. As I mentioned before, her UBC volleyball team was the last team before my first year of university to win the National Championships. She took the team to win 3 National Championships in the 5 years she played for them. Her and her teammates are still extremely close and have many trips and get-togethers planned during the year; it’s a very special group of women and I had the honor of growing up with all their constant support for me and the UBC thunderbirds. For all of you who already know my mom and I, you know how close we are. I know that this type of relationship doesn’t always happen in families so I know how lucky I am to have her as such an important part of my life.