There were a few things to immediately take away from the Sets4Supper volleyball charity matches at Vanier Collegiate on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 1).
One, world-class athletes like former Saskatchewan Roughriders Chris Getzlaf and Jeremy O'Day don't have to have dedicate their lives to a sport to be very, very good at it.
Two, never underestimate how much fun – and surprisingly competitive – a charity volleyball game can turn out.
And three, just what can be accomplished if you dedicate your time and effort to supporting a worthwhile charity like Riverside Mission.
More than 100 patrons filled the Ned Andreoni gymnasium for the event, which featured a celebrity all-star game that included members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team as well as a high-school all-star game with some of the top players from the local boys and girls leagues.
Both games were plenty entertaining and filled with laughs, and both featured some impressive volleyball, especially the celebrity game as it progressed.
“I think it was just a matter of us all getting going and then we all wanted to win,” said Team Yellow player Fraser Tolmie, who moonlights as the mayor of Moose Jaw.
Tolmie was one of the standouts in the contest, drawing kudos from the gym commentator throughout the match and even pulling off an impressive back-to-front row save on a near certain point for Team Blue in the first set.
Given how close the match was – Yellow ended up taking a 2-1 (25-23, 19-25, 15-12) victory – that point was crucial.
“It was good to have a couple nice little plays to show I was worthy of being on the team,” Tolmie said with a laugh. “It was a lot fun to get out there, brush some rust off some old skills.”
Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili was on the losing side, but was quick to point out how enjoyable the whole experience was.
“It's pretty cool when you get a bunch of people who don't really know each other, athletes, cops, politicians, and everyone gets really into it,” said Meili, who is member of the Vanier Collegiate Class of 1993. “I'm used to speeches and dull receptions, but today we got to have a lot of fun.”
In addition to Getzlaf and O'Day, who played on Team Blue and Yellow respectively, the Roughriders were represented by legendary defensive lineman Scott Schultz, who coached Team Blue with his usual gusto.
Local luminaries were out in force on both teams, including Snowbirds pilots Kevin Domon-Grenier (Snowbird 5) and Sarah Dallaire (Snowbird 2) as well as a host of players from emergency services and local organizations.
It was all for the best cause possible – supporting Riverside Mission and spreading awareness of worldwide homelessness and poverty.
“I'm very passionate about our youth, and just to see our youth stand up and four awesome young girls (see sidebar) wanting to do something good in their community,” said Tolmie. “That's the kind of community we want to live in, one that develops future leaders and I'm really proud of them and our community as a whole to rally together and help those who are less fortunate and in need.”
The high school all-star game featured players from Vanier, Peacock and Central, with Team Blue taking a 25-23, 23-25, 15-9 victory.
The event also featured a silent auction and penny parade, featuring a host if items donated by supporting businesses.
Read more on how the event came to be.