The Clarence-Rockland Servivors formed their volleyball club back in 2019, setting their sights on the provincials and training the hardest they could. They claimed a first-place victory in a Brockville tournament in September that year, showing their potential and getting them excited.
Then COVID-19 hit, and their dreams were put on hold as all sports were cancelled during the pandemic. Volleyball wasn’t considered essential, so for the entire year the team waited for news of a reopening.
Then in 2020, they thought their moment had come. Recreational sports were allowed once more, albeit with strict restrictions on admittance and no spectators allowed, so the Servivors reconvened to plan their rise to the top. School courts were closed, so they formed an independent club under the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA) and rented out public courts in Alta Vista and La Cité at a high premium. The team contracted a few sponsorships worth almost $10,000 to help alleviate some of the cost. They practiced for the rest of the year and into the first few months of 2021.
Then, sports were cancelled again
“The hardest part was when we organised a game at La Cité,” said Coach Jonathan Roy. “Full Court, referees, spectators, a DJ, animation. And then we got locked down two days before the game. That was so hard on everybody.”
There would be no tournament, and they couldn’t continue practising. The CR Servivors were benched once more. In September last year they reconvened for a second time as a school club to practice for the OFSAA Championship that should have happened in March 2022. But everything shut down yet again through to January 2022, and the championships were cancelled, so they were once again benched.
Now, they’ve returned as an independent club, because although school tournaments are still cancelled, club tournaments are going ahead full steam. The Servivors have been practising hard these past few months for the 18U Girls Bugarski Cup in Oshawa on April 2, and if they do well they’ll qualify for provincials in Waterloo on April 29 to May 1. The OVA’s Ontario Championships are the largest youth amateur volleyball event in the province and one of Canada’s premier sporting events.
“The girls were really resilient, they persevered in the face of COVID and all the shutdowns,” said Roy. “They could have given up volleyball and quit, but no one quit. No one.”