Story courtesy of Camosun College Chargers Marketing & Communications.
With textbooks and gym bag in tow, Savana Walkingbear pulls open the heavy steel, glass door of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and is instantly met by his teammates and three assistant coaches who greet him with a succession of high fives. With a watchful eye, he makes his way past a barrage of volleyballs served mechanically from the opposite end of the court. In the Camosun Chargers team room he changes into his practice gear and receives a quick, routine taping by one of the team’s athletic therapists. Back in the gym, practice begins as Head Coach Charles Parkinson (who will be inducted into the Volleyball BC Hall of Fame on February 6) starts calling the warm up and the defending National Champion Chargers get down to business.
This is how every evening in Savana’s life begins now. While it seems like a typical scenario in the life of a student-athlete, it is, in fact, a far cry from where Savana came from and from where he thought he’d ever be.
“I grew up on a reservation called Thunderchild First Nation, near Turtleford, Saskatchewan,” says Savana. “I have seven brothers and two sisters. Being the middle child was kind of a difficult spot. Instead of trying to being cherished for being the oldest or youngest, I decided just to be myself and to develop my own attributes and values and beliefs.”