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'I feel like I learned more from the losses than I did from the wins'
Dinos volleyball alumna Michelle Hendrix recalls her experiences in the dry years following a national championship
In 1993-94, her rookie season with the University of Calgary Dinos, Michelle Hendrix helped the team win the national championship.
Often in sport it’s not all about the wins and the losses. Sometimes it’s the friendships and the bonds forged between teammates that resonate much louder than the sound of the final buzzer.
Fresh off a successful high school volleyball career with the St. Francis Browns, Michelle Hendrix was ready to fulfill her dream of playing university volleyball. It was a dream that started at the beginning of Grade 10 after high school coach Laurel Hunt simply asked if she had ever played volleyball.
“I originally wanted to play basketball. Coach Hunt really saw something in me and encouraged me, so I can attribute my love of the game to her,” Hendrix said.
Teammates remain close
Going into her first season with the Dinos in 1993-94, Hendrix admits she was intimidated and scared at first.
“Playing with these women who were incredible athletes and volleyball players was a bit challenging for sure, but my teammates that first year were amazing. I really attribute my transition that year to them.”
In Hendrix’s rookie season, she tasted ultimate success as the team made it to and eventually won the national championship. But it wasn’t hoisting the championship trophy that sticks out most, it’s the friendships and bonds that were forged on the court.
“We were such a tight group on and off the court. I think that went a long way to the success we had,” says Hendrix.
Even though Hendrix spent much of her time on the bench that year, she still felt like she was part of the team.
“I still felt like a valuable member of the team even if I wasn’t on the court a lot. The lesson I learned was that you don’t necessarily have to be the star player to still make important contributions to the overall success of the team.”
Success off the court
During Hendrix’s time as a Dino, she never tasted that same type of success as she did her first year. This was something that was difficult for her to digest. But through the adversity, Hendrix learned many valuable lessons that she still carries with her to this day.
“It was hard, I’m not going to lie — it was a tough four years after that. Getting that taste of success and then never getting back again, says Hendrix. “However when I look back, I feel like I learned more from the losses than I did from the wins. Figuring out how to pick yourself up, get back in the gym, stay motivated to work hard both individually and as a team is something that has translated into many areas of both my professional and personal life. I’m grateful for the experiences I had and friendships I made during my time as a Dino.”
Alumni Games Saturday
As part of the University of Calgary’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Dinos volleyball teams are hosting their alumni games against the University of Alberta on Saturday, Feb. 25. The women begin at 12 p.m., followed by the men at 1:30 in the Jack Simpson Gym. Nearly 200 alumni from men’s and women’s volleyball will be there to see this year’s Dinos teams battle it out against their arch-rivals.
Originally published in UToday, February 23, 2017, By Drew Scherban, for Dinos Athletics
Photo courtesy of Michelle Hendrix.