Aaron Rumbolt is looking forward to eating pizza and cake with his teammates to celebrate a special occasion.
He’s also looking forward to having a championship banner hoisted to the rafters at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex today.
Rumbolt is a member of the Deer Lake club volleyball team that won gold at the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association Triple Ball West tournament held this past weekend at Grenfell Campus gymnasium.
It was the first time the group, all of whom are Grade 6 or 7 students at Xavier Junior High, had played a game of volleyball. The group started practising twice a week in October with the hopes of getting some meaningful time on the hardwood and check out the sport, moreso for fun than visions of winning.
The boys struggled in the early going, losing three out of four matches in double round-robin play in a three-team event, but they bounced back to eventually win gold with a three-set victory over the Corner Brook Intermediate Grade 7 male team in the final.
“It was crazy. We didn’t expect anything. We thought we weren’t going to do good at all,” Rumbolt said Monday of the championship run.
He believes nerves got the best of the boys in the first few games, but they started to encourage each other and pushed each other to keep going and things started to turn around when it counted most.
Personally, he had been in pressure situations before on the basketball court, but being on a volleyball court for the first game with a bunch of newbies playing against teams who had experience on their side was a different setting for him.
“It was kind of scary because you didn’t know if you were going to mess up or not,” he said.
They never got down on each other when things weren’t going their way. They always showed support for each other by offering high-fives and fist-pumps on big plays and words of encouragement when somebody didn’t make a play.
Nobody expected them to win. That’s why it means so much to the boys.
Rumbolt believes the look on everybody’s face after the game really told the story of how proud the guys were to be able to win gold in their first tournament.
“We were really excited. We were jumping and screaming,” he said.
Rumbolt hopes the victory is just the start. He now has a passion for the game and wants more hits on the ball.