The Camosun Chargers Men’s Volleyball team has twice had the honor of scrimmaging with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), CISM Men’s Volleyball Team
this year. With a new Head Coach at the helm and a host of athletes from across the country who are serving for Canada (including some who are former USport and Professional players) the Canadian team is in the final stages of preparation for the 7th CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China.
“It was our pleasure to host the CISM Canada Men’s Volleyball Team,” commented Camosun Chargers Head Coach Charles Parkinson. “I was glad our Chargers were able to hang in with the powerful CISM squad and make it an interesting scrimmage, particularly given how early in the season it is for us. We appreciate what the Canadian Armed Forces does and we are indeed free and safe and sovereign because of the efforts of the CAF and its members.”
Scheduled every four years, the CISM World Military Games have been hosted by Italy (1995, 2003), Croatia (1999), India (2007), Brazil (2011) and South Korea (2015). The CISM (International Military Sports Council) is one of the largest multidisciplinary organizations in the world and organizes various sporting events for the armed forces of its 137 member countries.
Newly appointed CISM Canada Men’s Volleyball Head Coach Tyler Vivian stepped into the HC position four months ago when he was offered the opportunity to expand his role with the team.
“I work for the military, but am technically a civilian employee,” stated Coach Vivian. “Our regular Head Coach had prior commitments with his Royal Military college team in Ontario and was unable to attend the World Games this fall. I originally started two and a half years ago as the Assistant Coach and I also manage the team’s Strength and Conditioning. Moving into the Head Coach role for the upcoming event in Wuhan is pretty exciting and I’m honored to do it.”
Working alongside Coach Vivian is Assistant Coach – Jimmy Davidson, Trainer – Tiffany Dickinson and Team Manager – Master Warrant Officer, Chuck Harvey.
Following last night’s scrimmage, the Chargers sat down for a “Q and A” with Coach Vivian to talk about the CISM Canada Men’s Volleyball program and its new connection with Camosun.
Q: How did the scrimmages between the CISM Canada Men’s Volleyball Team and the Camosun Chargers get organized?
A: One of our former players, James Poirier, played at Camosun and knew Head Coach Charles Parkinson, as did our Team Manager, Chuck Harvey. We knew we were coming out this way, so Chuck contacted Charles and they set things up. PISE is an amazing facility and Charles is a world-class coach. We were very fortunate that he allowed us to come and play. He accommodated us in many ways including letting us scrimmage with our official game ball, and he helped us prepare, even though he was preparing for his own upcoming season. It speaks to his character, he’s an amazing person.
Q: The CISM Military World Games are scheduled to run from October 18-27. What will you and the team be doing between now and then?
A: We’ll be heading over to Vancouver and will play Trinity Western University over the next two nights. After that, the players will return to their respective bases across Canada and keep up with their strength and conditioning via an app where I can track their workouts and see what they’ve done. It’s a great system for us. They’ll also try to get in some play wherever they are, and that’s pretty much it until we leave for China.
Q: One of the CISM’s main initiatives is “To contribute to world peace by uniting armed forces through sport.” What impact do you feel the CISM and events like the Military World Games make to promoting solidarity and world peace?
A: I think that any time countries come together for a sport, despite where they’re from and whatever their differences are, we are participating in a common thing. For us, that happens to be volleyball. It’s such a cool experience to see how other countries play. There’s obviously language barriers but everybody comes up with some sort of sign or something that everyone understands. It’s inspiring to know that even though we’re from different parts of the world with a lot of different things going on, especially in today’s climate, we’re all just getting together to compete as best as we can.
Q: What are the benefits of signing up for the CISM program and how do people get involved?
A: As military members, all our players have full time jobs… competing is a nice bonus for them. A lot of our guys have played in the past and it keeps them involved in the sport and it’s very exciting for them.
For people interested in joining the military or the reserves, CISM is a great avenue to continue playing, to keep up with the sport and to serve and support your country. And if you get the opportunity, you get to represent your country at an International event!
We have approximately 40 athletes in the Men’s Volleyball CISM program. Teams are formed depending on who’s available as we’re a “military first” country. If an individual is deployed or away, they do not compete, so we need a large pool of athletes in order to be able to select from those who are potentially available.
Luckily, we pretty much have our Top 12 going to the Games in October. The team that played Camosun tonight is pretty close to our best and the exact roster that’s going to Wuhan.