Caitlyn Spurr shares on personal and team growth

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There are few better feelings than spiking clean through the defense. Arthur Images

Cougars women’s volleyball team is back and more grounded than ever

This past week, the University of Regina Cougars women’s volleyball team played against Winnipeg. The game was intense, with multiple points made by multiple teammates, and the student-athlete we spoke with for this article, Caitlyn Spurr, scored eight points herself. With a final score of 25-22 for Winnipeg it sounded like a tough game, but the team is working hard. So, this week, let’s get to know one of the game leaders! Spurr plays on the left side, is a team captain, comes from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and has been playing volleyball for 10 years. She has been playing for the Cougars for four years now while studying and is in her fourth year of Nursing.

What previous leagues or camps have you gone to that helped you train to become a Cougar?

“From a very young age the importance of work ethic was instilled in me, which led to playing multiple sports at a high-level including Team Saskatchewan Soccer from 2014-2017, Team Saskatchewan Volleyball from 2015-2018, and I also played high school basketball and participated in track. Leading up to becoming a Cougar, I played for Saskatchewan Stealth Club where my coaches supported me tremendously and prepared me for the next level of volleyball.” 

How does the volleyball team train on a weekly basis?

“We practice Monday to Friday for two and a half hours a day (…), and we also have three team work-outs a week and additional programmed cardio workouts. On the days when we have a game, we practice in the morning in order to prepare for the evening game.”

Do you have a personal goal for yourself during this season? What is your team’s goal?

“Our team goal is to win the National Championship. When we sat down as a team to decide on what our goal for the season was going to be, it was important for us to set the bar high because for us, the sky is the limit. We are determined to work hard every day, enjoy the process, and do what it takes to achieve our goal.”

“As a captain on the team, my personal goal for the season is to give generously to my team on and off the court, and spread love and joy to my teammates. One thing I have learned is that there is so much power in the simple love of a sport, and bringing this to the court every day helps those around me.”

What techniques and skills do you think are required for volleyball?

“Like any sport, work ethic is the number one thing that is required. Volleyball is a very specialized sport, and it takes a lot of mental discipline.”

Have you coached any teams in the past? Or, if you want to coach a team in the future, can you explain why and what you think are important aspects about coaching?

“I have coached many different kids sport camps and volleyball camps over the years. I believe every child should have the opportunity to be involved in sport as sport has given me many incredible opportunities, and taught me life skills such as time management, leadership, communication, and work ethic. In addition, participation in sports teaches teamwork and fosters relationships all while having fun and playing the games the kids love.”

What is your favourite part about playing with the Cougars so far?

“My favourite part about playing for the cougars is the relationships I have built with my teammates and the coaching staff. I also love the competitive environment of being pushed to be my best every day. Playing a high-level sport has shown me that everyone can spread joy. and impact others with the power of kindness. For this reason, I work each day to encourage those around me whether it be on the court, classroom, or on the street with a stranger.”

What are some other important things people should know about your team?

“As a Cougars athlete, it has been very important to recognize that in addition to the University, we are also leaders in the community. Therefore, it is important that our team takes part in service initiatives and demonstrates our commitment to bettering the lives of those around us. As a team we have volunteered lots of time with various Sask volleyball initiatives as well as Special Olympics Saskatchewan. Personally, because I have been significantly impacted by cancer, I have been called to volunteering for different Cancer fundraising initiatives including the Terry Fox Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society and Small but Mighty SK. I have been volunteering for The Terry Fox Foundation for over 10 years and in that time, I have raised over $25,000.”

How does your team “work as a team” on and off the court?

“The connection our team has on and off the court is unique because we all genuinely care about one another. As a team, we have learned that there is something very powerful about looking each other in the eye and saying, ‘I believe in you,’ or ‘You can do this.’ I am very excited (to) watch our team grow throughout the season.”

How has COVID-19 affected your team?

“Last week we played our first match in 630 days, and I think when you face an obstacle as impactful as COVID, something our team learned is that the only thing we can control is our response. Response to the adversity, response to the challenge of not having court time for months, gyms being closed, and many others. Personally, it came down to asking myself the question of, okay, what can I do today that will make me better and more prepared so when we do step back on the court, I am ready to go? And, now that we are finally able to play again, I think collectively as a team one thing we learned is that every single day we step on the court is a gift that cannot be taken for granted.”

What does the rest of the season look like for the Cougars?

“Our season is just starting! Our first home games are Nov 12 and 13 at 6 pm against the Brandon Bobcats. Then in January we are at home two weekends in a row: January 14 and 15 at 6 pm against Winnipeg Wesmen, and January 21 against the U of S Huskies.”

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