Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing a young man who competed in the Western Canada Summer Games. He plays volleyball which unfortunately is not a very popular sport here in North America, outside of highschool and university. As he has graduated he is no longer playing.
I feel pretty good about the article. I think it is well written and I so enjoyed meeting this very genuine, nice, young man. The image I have of him doesn’t do him justice as he has since shed the dreads and looks very clean-cut. Most importantly he was very happy with the article. So here it is. Just thought it is something worth sharing.
Drew Venables is the perfect example of the spirit of sport competition and embodies the Kamloops 2011 Western Canada Summer Games’ motto “The Games begin with YOU!”
This soft-spoken, impressive, young man has a quiet, charm that instantly puts you at ease despite his 6’7” stature. He comes across as confident, capable and driven. It is therefore understandable that he is a natural leader and has aspirations to coach volleyball in his future.
Born and raised in Kamloops, Drew quickly rose to the top of High School Volleyball competition and was named Athlete of the Year during grade 11 and 12, while maintaining his standing on the Honour Roll. He attributes his love of sport and desire to compete in volleyball to his two older brothers who influenced him and challenged his skill, as well as his parents who are also avid athletes.
At sixteen Drew competed at the 2003 Western Canada Summer Games held in Selkirk, Manitoba. This was his first introduction to multi-sport competition at a high caliber level. He and his teammates were quite comfortable with their status as top athletes in their hometown of Kamloops, but here they were one of hundreds of others who excelled in their sport; it was an inspiring experience.
Two years later Drew followed the natural course and competed at the 2005 Canada Games in Regina Saskatchewan. He notes that the Canada Games were even bigger and athletes got a taste of what it feels like to compete in an event like the Olympics. The press coverage associated with this level of competition was something that really impressed Drew and his teammates and reinforced the realization of the level they were competing at.
When talking about his experience at the Western Canada Games and Canada Games Drew recalls, “Competing at this level you learn how to be an athlete. You realize what it takes to be successful in your sport. You learn all about nutrition, exercise and the level of physical and mental dedication it takes to be a professional athlete.”
Drew recently graduated from the University of Manitoba on a scholarship where he completed a four year Bachelor of Arts Degree. During his time in University he played Setter for the University of Manitoba Bisons where once again he excelled and received many awards.
An inspiration to young athletes from all sports, Drew has a passion for team sports and clear ideas of how being involved can influence a person’s life. Coaching appeals to him because he is a strong leader and sees where he can be a positive influence in bringing a professional level of competitive spirit to young athletes without the high stress and pressure that is sometime associated with competitive sports. His own story is strong support for the importance of and the opportunities that Western Canada Games provide for our country’s aspiring athletes.
Drew’s future plans include coaching Men’s Volleyball in Kamloops along with Pat Hennelly, the men’s coach at TRU. Drew will very likely be coaching Team BC’s men’s volleyball team for the Kamloops 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, meaning he will have come full circle.