This week, Vikings Athletics caught up with fourth-year Vikings volleyball captain Danielle Brockman to see what she has been up to during the pandemic, training and preparing for her future, including applying to the University of Alberta's physiotherapy program, which she hopes to begin next fall.
Q: As an athlete, what challenges does this year bring? What opportunities does this year bring?
DB: One challenge that has been very difficult for me to overcome is accepting that this is how my volleyball career will end. What makes it exceptionally hard is knowing my parents will not be able to be in the stands watching me anymore.
That being said, this year is giving me a lot of opportunities that I do not normally have due to volleyball. I've never had weekends off while in my undergraduate studies, so taking advantage of that has been a treat.
Volleyball wise, not competing this year has given us the opportunity to make large changes to our defensive systems. We're transitioning into swing blocking as well as a full-read defense. If we were to be competing, this transition would be very difficult as we would have time pressure to perfect these changes. Instead we have a full two semesters to get comfortable without the pressure of winning a championship.
Q: How did you spend your time this summer?
DB: This summer I was working at a nursing home, providing activities for the residents and forming great connections! In my free time I was able to be at the lake with family, and working out to prepare for returning in the fall. I was also my sister's maid of honour and I was in my friend's wedding party in Ontario. This kept me very busy helping plan and prepare, especially for my sister's wedding. Despite the business of it all, both weddings ended up being incredibly special given the intimate settings.
Q: What has the pandemic changed most for you?
DB: The biggest change for me has been adapting to school online. Thankfully I have great roommates who I'm able to spend each day with while not going crazy. That being said, I do really miss the social aspect of classes and being at Augustana in general. It has really pushed us to find new ways of having fun and keeping our sanity!
Q: How have you and the team stayed connected during the pandemic?
DB: During quarantine, we would send videos of our workouts to one another showing the strange types of ways we were able to exercise. Each week people kept trying to find more and more unique ways of doing it, which kept it fun! During the summer, our team would meet over zoom to do yoga together and catch up each month. We also did mental training once every two weeks from August to October led by Karissa Johnson. When we returned in September it was very difficult to be here without being able to spend all of our time together. It has been so good to finally be able to start practicing together again and to reconnect once again!
Q: You are the executive of the Vyke for Tykes program, can you tell us a little bit about that organization and how people can help?
DB: The Vikes for Tykes program is a student-athlete led initiative that was created to allow Augustana athletes to give back to the Camrose community. Each year we put on a Christmas toy drive, where the toys are donated to Camrose Kinettes and the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. Usually, each team would have a game dedicated to this toy drive, however, due to the pandemic this cannot occur. Instead, we will be broadcasting intersquad matches online at the beginning of December with a way for people to donate money for the toy drive online. If anyone is interested in donating to this initiative, they should stay tuned for the announcement of those dates and tune in when the games occur!
This year we have developed a new partnership with the Camrose Boys and Girls Club, in which we will be re-establishing our mentorship program called Big Vikes Little Vikes. This program will allow Augustana athletes to develop relationships with children from Camrose, in the hopes of getting more of them on campus and seeing the possibility of post-secondary education.
Hear more from Vikings Athletes during Friday Mornings with Scott Mitchell on New Country 98.1.