Representing your country is something most athletes dream of for their entire life. This July, that came true for four Dalhousie University Tigers athletes as they were selected to represent Team Canada at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer Universiade 2019 in Naples, Italy. The Summer Universiade is an Olympics-like event for university athletes that is held every two years in a different city.
“It has always been a goal of mine, I mean to play for Canada and have that red and white jersey with Canada across your chest,” says Alex Carson, who has played basketball for the Tigers for three years. “I’m really honoured to have had this opportunity this summer.”
During the Atlantic University Sport season, Carson shares the floor with fifth-year forward Sascha Kappos and this summer, they played together for Canada.
“It was unbelievable. It was something that I’ll never forget in my lifetime,” says Kappos.
Kappos and Carson have known each other for a long time, and playing together on an international stage gave them an opportunity to experience the unforgettable as Team Canada earned a sixth place finish in the tournament.
Rosters were made with top athletes representing different universities across Canada and they battled against teams from all over the world. More than 150 countries were represented at the tournament.
Gaining leadership experience
Experiencing that level of competition was valuable for the Tigers in learning leadership skills and understanding your role on the team, says Kappos.
In Naples, “everyone had a role to play,” he says. “Don’t play outside of the way that you can play and play to your strengths and the end result will speak for itself.”
As a veteran on Dal’s basketball team for this upcoming season, Kappos says that passing along the message of playing your own game with confidence is important for the younger stars on Dal’s team like Keevan Veinot, Jordan Brathwaite and Xavier Ochu.
“They are going to be all conference players one day there is no question; it’s just having that mindset that if you play to your strengths and play with confidence, it will always be a win,” says Kappos.
Julie Moore and Courtney Baker from the Dalhousie Tigers women’s volleyball team were also named to Team Canada.
Moore, a third-year outside, suffered a badly sprained ankle before the tournament and wasn’t able to compete because of the injury. Despite not being able to play, she remained positive and supported the team from the sidelines as they faced tough competition and finished in eighth place.
“It was bittersweet for sure, but it was amazing to watch and see the level of play and even just training with the girls was awesome,” says Moore.
For Baker, this was her second and final time playing at the Summer Universiade. She competed in 2017 in Taipei City, as well as at a Grand Prix international competition in 2017.
The fifth-year setter says that always pushing herself to be better has been crucial for her success so far.
“[Have] really high expectations, train really hard every day and [make] every rep you get count to get better every day so you can have an opportunity to play,” she says.