Keanne Tome-What we’re doing is so much more than Volleyball

Keanne Tome

Women's Volleyball

While there are 120 Spartan athletes, 30 Spartan volleyball players, and 16 of them on the women's volleyball team, every athlete brings something new and unique to the table. Each of their stories are different. From celebrating triumphs to overcoming adversity, Spartan setter Keanne Tome knows just as well as any of them that in the end, sports isn't about how strong you are or how many wins you chalk up - it's about who you become.

When Keanne arrived at Trinity Western she had just graduated from Seaquam Secondary School in Delta, B.C. and having played as an outside hitter for Richmond's Air Attack club team and on Team BC, she felt keen to transition into the CIS. But hold on, isn't Keanne a setter? "I had been playing as a hitter all the way through high school because we always had National Team setters on my teams," says Keanne. "I remember the day that Ryan called me and asked if I wanted to come to a setter. It took me by surprise but I did it and the switch was relatively smooth, to volleyball that is."

Keanne, however, had troubles making the transition into life as a Trinity student and finding a niche where she was comfortable in the social scene. "I think that when I got here I had a real stereotype of what a ‘Christian' person was like," Keanne explains. "To me, many of the people here seemed very closed and judgmental. It was the exact opposite of what I figured Christians should and would be like."

As Keanne struggled to reconcile her new life at Trinity, she was also plagued by injuries on the court. "My injury folder is ridiculously thick," says Keanne. "My ankles have always given me trouble and it seemed sometimes that as soon as I recovered from one injury another one would come along. It got to be very frustrating."

The highs and lows of volleyball seemed to mirror the highs and lows of life at Trinity until this past August when Keanne was invited to go on a trip that changed her life. "In August I went to Costa Rica and Panama with Athletes in Action," says Keanne. "Part of the trip was volleyball but then part of the trip was ministry. As I listened to the guys open up to share their stories I realized for the first time that no one, Christian or not, is perfect. As I watched these grown men break down and share their flaws and their mistakes, the wall that I had put up against Christianity slowly but surely got broken down."

Returning to Trinity in the fall for her fifth and final year, Keanne decided that she wanted to bring a bit of her experience back to share with her team. "During the pre-season we began to share our stories with each other while we were on road trips," says Keanne. "As teammates we see each other every day and it is easy for our relationships to become surface level. Sharing our stories gives us the chance to lay our true selves out there and let the people we spend countless hours a week with know who we really are. It's powerful to share with others what you struggle with, what you don't understand, what you've succeeded at, and overall just learning how to be vulnerable with others."

While it has taken four full years for Keanne to get here she finally feels settled with where she is at, as a volleyball player and more importantly as a person. "I only have a little while left here but I'm just excited to see how this year will go," says Keanne with a smile. "Next year will come and things will fall into place, but right now I'm happy to be here, I'm starting to appreciate the school and I love the girls I play with. For the first time in a long time I am comfortable with just being myself - flaws and all."

The journey Keanne has been on and the sincere, strong character that she has developed as a result is something Head Coach, Ryan Hofer, appreciates. "I have seen Keanne deal with a lot of adversity over the past five years," he says. "The greatest excitement for me is to see her growth as an individual: to watch her character deepen as her excitement for life and her caring for teammates develop. Especially over the last year there has been an undeniable softening of her spirit as a person who has truly learned how to put her team first."

As a leader on and off the court Keanne is having a sort of renaissance in her life. "I realize now that there are things that are more important than just playing volleyball for the sake of playing volleyball," she says. "It's about who you are as a person. Sharing these stories has changed the way I approach the sport because when it comes down to it, when you're on the court the girls that surround you are all in the same boat. None of us have had a flawless journey; we all question, we all doubt, and we all grow stronger because of it. Now I know that every time I step out on the court, what we're doing is so much more than volleyball."


Last Updated: 2008-11-25
Author: Scott Stewart