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For the love of sport

blonde woman kicking soccer balll

By Kaytlyn Poberznick

During the month of love, it’s nice to show appreciation for the things that keep the motor running. Loving something usually comes with a certain level of commitment. For athletes, that couldn’t be more true–they dedicate hours each week to their sport. They give blood, sweat, and tears, which means there has to be some fiery passion involved. 

To honour the heartfelt love affair we all enjoy on Valentine’s Day, these NAIT athletes told us why they love their sport.

Anna Atcheynum

Women’s volleyball, 3rd year Outside Hitter

blonde girl wearing NAIT volleyball jersey

Sports, in general, have been a big part of my life ever since I was young. I grew up mostly around the hockey rink, but it wasn’t until around high school that I knew I had a special love for volleyball. I was originally drawn to it because my older sister played it before I did. Volleyball is such a technical sport, and I have always loved the precision that needs to be brought into every play. Being able to continue playing the game I love at NAIT is such an amazing opportunity. I have been able to build new long-lasting relationships over the past four years that I will have for life. The main reason I love playing volleyball is that I get to express that competitive edge each week and continue to push myself to be better.

Margreat Idi

Women’s Basketball, 4th year Forward

woman with braids wearing NAIT jersey

This question makes me reflect on my journey with basketball. There have been times that I have fallen both in and out of love with it. The real answer comes from not a ‘what’, but a ‘who’ that made me fall in love with the game. The person that made me fall in love with sports and  basketball in particular is Cathy Ostapowicz. Cathy was not only my junior high basketball coach, but she was my first coach ever. She really instilled the fundamentals of basketball and life lessons that I will forever take with me–specifically, the aspect of togetherness that you experience with your teammates, coaches and even other teams. I would say that basketball has allowed me to gain multiple connections and feel a part of something bigger than the sport itself…a community. To summarize, I love the sport I play because it allows me to be competitive, build connections, and make great memories.

Keilan Dobish

Men’s Basketball, 5th year Forward

There are a number of reasons why I love basketball. The first one is the opportunity to push myself in a competitive atmosphere with people who share the same passions and goals as I do. Another major one is the opportunity to come to the gym every day and better myself, not only as a player, but also as a person. I also take a great deal of pride in representing a school and program as incredible as NAIT day in and day out, while playing with and learning from the best in the province, if not the country.

Toni Burse

Women’s Soccer, 3rd year Forward

tan woman wearing silver headbadn and striped blue jersey

In my family, soccer has always been a big part of growing up, from my grandparents to my mom, to me. I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old and haven’t stopped since. Doing something as simple as watching the FIFA World Cup with my family and cheering on team Italy or the Canadian and US women’s teams each year reminds me why I love soccer. Being inspired by the players and how they move was like poetry in motion. Playing any sport was an escape from anything going on in my life, but soccer was the number one stress reliever. Whether it was intense practices or just juggling a ball in my backyard, I knew that once I had a ball at my feet, nothing could upset me. Having the chance to play as a striker, midfielder, defender, and goalkeeper allowed me to appreciate the sport in many different ways and fall in love with it as time went on. When I came to NAIT to continue my soccer career, I had never had a more accepting and encouraging team. The girls and the coaches reassured me that this is the sport I know I will play until my back and knees give out. No matter the ups and downs of the game, my love for soccer pushes me to be better both on and off the pitch. Another benefit of this sport is having my family members come out and cheer me on. Having the experiences I’ve had for the past 17 years has given me lots of insight into the game, which has now given me the opportunities to coach young boys and girls and help them fall in love with soccer as I have.

(Photos from NAIT Ooks)

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