This past 2017 season for the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans volleyball team, began a new job for Spencer Matlock, Bezanson alumni, as an assistant coach. Matlock played volleyball at Bezanson school from 2009-2014 and moved onto Peace Wapiti Academy where he played from 2014-2017. The Titans this season won 2 silver medals, 1 gold medal and won zones which resulted in them attending 3A Men’s Volleyball Provincials. The 2017 season was the first year of Matlock’s coaching and he had to go through the same transition as any coach. Matlock says, “It was a good transition but it definitely felt weird. I always had that feeling to get on the court and play because of my love for the game. Being on the sideline, as a coach, has really made me look at the game differently.” The transition from a player to a coach teaches that individual a lot about themselves and about the game. Matlock says that he has learned a lot from this new experience.
“I’ve learned that being a coach isn’t just knowing the sport your coaching it’s being able to connect to all the aspects and skills that are used. Being able to help a player improve while improving yourself as a coach and even though I’ve played volleyball for a lot of years and I’ve now coached one year, I’m still learning everyday. My main reason for wanting to coach was to stay around the game as much as possible because I enjoy everything about it.”
Matlock grew up in Bezanson and has been very successful in his community, from sports to academics and more. Volleyball was not the only sport that Matlock played though. He excelled in baseball for the Grande Prairie Reds for many years. Matlock was a very skilled multi-sport athlete who is now giving back to his community through sport. Matlock talks about
his community and how it has influenced him in this journey from being an athlete to being a coach.
“Growing up in such a small community, you have so many people that influence you in multiple different ways. Going from teachers who wouldn’t give up on you to the many coaches over the years. Mainly, I’d say having Les Sonnenberg, as a basketball coach, and my mother, Carol Matlock, as my volleyball coach really helped build my character to want to coach and just express my passion for a sport like they did.”
After being asked what advice Matlock would give to students coming from a small town, he says:
“I would tell kids not to limit themselves on what they do. If you like every sport possible, play them all, if you like multiple activities, push yourself to do them all to the best of your ability because one day, you won’t have the opportunity to play that anymore or eventually you will have to give it up. Take advantage of everything your community can offer you and enjoy it! If you set your mind to a certain goal, never give up on that goal and continue to strive for it until you reach it!”
The Bezanson community is filled with individuals giving back to their community through many different ways. Coaching can open up doors for athletes and direct them on the right path. Coaching can also help build confidence and teach them lifelong lessons. There is no limit to what giving back to the community, from coaching or anything can do.
“ In such a small community people need to step up, and that’s what I love about our community. So many people are always stepping up in different scenarios, and I wanted to be a part of that as much as possible because I believe that I’m improving my community when I give back to it. Helping teach the skills I know to possibly help a kid play college volleyball maybe or just help guide them in the right direction is a wonderful feeling.”
written by Ally Pilgrim