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27 Adventist Volleyball Teams Dig B.C. Weekend Tournament

CASA Volleyball Tournament

From March 1-3, 27 coed volleyball teams from eight Seventh-day Adventist academies bumped, set, and spiked their way through the Canadian Adventist School Athletics (CASA) junior tournament.

Deer Lake School in Burnaby, British Columbia, hosted the tournament that drew teams from across the province. Toronto’s Crawford Adventist Academy made its first tournament appearance, entering two teams from its main and east campuses. Other participants came from Fraser Valley Adventist Academy, Okanagan Christian School, Peace Christian School, Cariboo Adventist Academy, Lakeview Christian School, and Pleasant Valley Christian Academy. Unfortunately, due to weather, College Heights Christian School could not make their usual appearance. 

The event divided junior-year and younger high school students into A, B, and C divisions with championships in A and B levels. After two days of strong play, Fraser Valley Adventist Academy from Langley B.C. won division A, and Victoria’s Lakeview Christian School won division B.

The Canadian Adventist School Athletics sport tournaments foster friendly athletic participation and community development. Along with CASA’s volleyball competitions, Okanagan Christian School in Kelowna hosts junior flag football tournaments each fall, and Fraser Valley Adventist Academy holds mid-spring senior football events. Burman University hosts senior-level volleyball at its Winter Classic, modeled after Walla Walla University’s annual Fall Classic.

Adventist schools in British Columbia piloted their first sports tournament in 1991. After observing Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) matches at then Walla Walla College. B.C. schools launched their own FCA chapter, holding a six-school volleyball event that year. They soon added flag football—now a mainstay, and occasionally have mixed in softball and soccer events. In 2013, the B.C. FCA chapter rebranded as CASA. 

FCA/CASA co-founder Lawrence McMullen recalls planning early events. “The biggest hurdle was the feeling at the time that competitive sports were not a good thing in Adventist schools,” he said. “From the beginning, FCA not only put an emphasis on a higher level of sporting skills and teamwork, but also put equal importance on both the fellowship and spiritual components.”

McMullen shared that tournament organizers deliberately added spiritual programming and social activities to the athletic events. CASA pioneers felt that, if properly done, tournaments could demonstrate the value of athletic competition and friendship to Adventist leaders and administrators. McMullen notes, “It wasn’t long that the strengths of the program were evident, and FCA/CASA was well accepted on its fine merits, and has continued to receive avid support from the British Columbia Conference.”

The tournaments benefit students most. Some students attend Adventist schools specifically for their sports programs. The mainstay events—volleyball and flag-football competitions—provide opportunities for personal, spiritual, physical, and communal growth. The events create space for building friendships that last long after graduation. Many current coaches, athletic directors, and teachers played in FCA/CASA events themselves.

Jayden Brucks, athletic director at Cariboo Adventist Academy and former CASA athlete, feels the yearly meetings of athletes create community not just among students, but for schools and the conference as a whole.

“[CASA is] very important to our Adventist schools,” Brucks said. “Especially for a small school like Cariboo with a large non-Adventist, non-Christian student populations, these tournament events show the kind of community we have and the connections that can be made. CASA really creates invaluable experiences for them.”

Schools now shift focus to springtime football as excitement builds for upcoming events following the weekend’s high-energy volleyball action.

Kevin McCarty

About the author

Kevin R. McCarty is a spiritual care provider and Indigenous ally who lives, works, and worships on the unceded traditional S’olh Temexw territory of the Stó:lō people. More from Kevin R. McCarty.
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