What does it take to be an athlete for the Royals?
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
For most students, August is usually the time for laying around on sunny beaches and sipping cold beers under the setting sun. Students from all around the Lower Mainland are trying to get that last bit of sweet Vancouver sunshine before the clouds of September roll in and we are plagued with eternal overcast. Unless, of course, you’re a Royal, in which case August means one of two things: preseason, or going back to the gym to get rid of that festival flub. Either way, every day that passes in August is one step closer to the new season.
For the rookies, it’ll take some time to get adapted to the craziness of the pre-season training schedule. However, they’ll have plenty of help from returning members of the Royals, who know all about just how crazy the preseason can be. But the most important thing for these new athletes to learn during the preseason, and even during the year, is what it truly means to be a Royal.
Marni McMillan played for the women’s soccer team for four years, her last being the historic 2015–16 campaign that went to Nationals and finished fourth in the country. For her, being part of the Royals was truly special. “Being a Royal meant that I was a part of an athletic family—a Pride—that supported one another in sport, in school, and outside of Douglas College.” It’s not often that you can find or build bonds that powerful. It was that feeling that defined McMillan’s four years with the Royals and made it so special.
Her advice to new players is to enjoy their time, as it is always fleeting. “The hardest part about being a Royal was knowing that your time spent at Douglas College was only temporary and that it would one day come to an end. You recognize that eventually you will no longer be a student athlete, so every season you aspire to leave behind something that will outlive your presence on campus and continue to echo throughout your sport.” However long one’s stay at Douglas may be, it’s nearly always said that it wasn’t long enough. Marni’s words echo that statement, but also brings about the point of making the most of one’s time at Douglas.
Men’s volleyball player Justin Faester knows all about that. Faester was a rookie on last year’s national ranking squad, and he is moving into a leadership role as he enters his second season with the Royals. He echoes McMillan’s pride about being part of the Royals’ athletic program. “’I’m very fortunate to be a part of the Royals family. It is a very supportive atmosphere and a great group of hardworking people.” Although he is one of the younger Royals in the program, Faester has taken to the program with a fiery passion. His involvement with the community off the court has only been enriched and he believes that helping to build a better community is what the Royals are all about. “The best part of being a member of the Royals is the relationships I’ve made through the Douglas College community and my sport.” His efforts on and off the court to improve himself, his teammates, and the sport he loves is a great demonstration of what it really takes to be a Royal.