A Glimpse into Varsity: Challenges Faced by Coaches and Players Alike
By: 25104 Cassandra White
Being accepted into RMC is something that people are proud of given the many factors that are considered in one’s acceptance into the college. It is not an easy feat to enter into this institution and walk through the Arch. Coaches who run the varsity teams here at RMC face extraordinary challenges in attracting and then retaining the athletes that make it through the difficult acceptance process. Upon speaking to James Bambury, head coach of the Women’s Varsity Basketball program, I was able to get a small glimpse of the hurdles these coaches work through in developing their respective programs.
One of the main issues that pose a challenge to coaches who are recruiting athletes is that they are looking for individuals who are not merely athletes, but people who have the potential to be leaders in the Canadian forces and who happen to excel in their sport. This can pose to be a problem as the pool of people has significantly shrunken. Furthermore, once a promising candidate for the college is found, the inability to give guarantees of their acceptance and future at the college is something that coaches at a civilian university do not have to deal with. This makes writing letters of intent to athletes relatively impossible. Coaches are however permitted to help with the application process and in preparation for the recruitment centre interview. The uncertainty of acceptance that is presented to a promising candidate for RMC is unfortunately a deterrent. One must understand that the qualities that make the candidate a good choice for RMC also makes them attractive to other universities. These other universities, unlike RMC, are equipped with the ability to deliver a more certain answer to the athletes’ concern over acceptance into the institution, and are therefore a major competitor in attracting young and well-rounded athletes.
When asked his opinion of the affects that RMC inflicts upon the retention of athletes as compared to a civilian university, Coach Bambury had an eloquent and refreshing response: “I think there are definitely difficulties that we will come across here at RMC as opposed to another university, and the difficulties would be centered around the added time consumption from military and academic activities. Where you have less time to finish homework, less time to decompress, less time in general, and therefore there happens to be more difficulties in terms of time management and life balance. I think the differences do not lead to us not being able to compete, where the differences lie is in the ability to manage the three most significant things in your life: academic commitments and military as number 1, your health and your family as number 2, basketball as 3. I believe the commitment that it takes for a cadet to not allow anything to come between those three things is something to be recognized and applauded. I think the turn over in players is a result of there being so many demands jam packed into the life of a cadet here at RMC, and the extreme difficulty found in balancing and maintaining those three priorities. Whereas at a civilian university there is less pressure, so if something falls in between those 3 priorities it is less of a big deal because you have more time to make up for interruptions in life. At RMC that time is not as readily available.”
Although there are unique challenges presented in developing and competing in a varsity program here at RMC, if the athletes are asked whether or not it is worth it to be part of their programs, many, if not all, would definitely agree. The positive influence that the varsity experience has on a Cadet is something to be treasured. Not every day at practice will feel joyous, nor will ever road-trip be a walk through the daisies, but, when it is over, every day spent on the courts, ice, or field will be missed. Enjoy it while you can.
Support your peers in their upcoming seasons! It is appreciated!