“I love going to get food, so I’m just excited,” said Hannah May minutes before she and her teammates were picked up in a Langford fire truck and taken for lunch.
Wednesday was an exciting day for May and her teammates, who celebrated their volleyball championship with the rest of the school during a pep rally before getting treated to lunch for the second consecutive year, the girls having won a junior provincial title a year ago.
After a gruelling season that culminated in them winning a B.C. title two weekends back, it’s fair to say that the Belmont Bulldogs senior girls had earned some free grub.
A packed gym of students and parents honoured all of the Bulldogs fall and winter sports teams, but the loudest cheer belonged to the school’s latest B.C. champs.
“It’s so much fun. Last year it was cool but it feels different as seniors for some reason,” May said. “Everyone was cheering. It’s an awesome environment.”
A short video was shown that included many of the Bulldogs’ key points during their provincial run, including the final points that clinched them the championship.
“You always have that vantage point that you personally had … it looks a lot different when you see it (on video),” said head coach Mike Toakley. “It always brings tears to your eyes.”
Toakley has had some time to reflect on the team’s achievements and how far the girls have come since he began working with them five years ago.
“You didn’t know then that they would be such a special group, that they would achieve all the things they’ve achieved since then … they’ve come so far,” he said.
While the team may look like a well-oiled machine today, that wasn’t always the case, as Toakley recalled.
“When they first started they were not a good team, they didn’t win very often, but they’ve always been this tight social group … they just work together really well. Once they started winning they just never let it go.”
May believes the team’s strong friendship with one another off the court has as much to do with their success as their skills on the court.
“We’re all best friends outside of school … we’re like sisters now,” she said.
And who better to enjoy a celebratory lunch with than a group of your best friends?