Athlete Recovers Love For Volleyball at CMU
After bad experience with a coach, Kalon Bergen
thought she'd never play again
|Vaughn Rempel Snider and Kalon Bergen: Never played on a team
where she felt so supported by coaches and teammates.
Volleyball was Kalon Bergen’s life as a high school student. She lived and
breathed it. She couldn’t wait to get on the court to play again. But then a bad
experience with a critical coach killed her love for the game. The Beausejour,
Manitoba resident thought she’d never play competitive volleyball again.
Today Bergen has recovered her joy for sport and is a key member of the CMU
women’s volleyball team. “Coming to CMU was pivotal for me,” she says. “It was a
real turning point.”
The bad experience with the coach occurred when she joined a club team in
Winnipeg while in grade 11. “He constantly criticized me,” she recalls noting
that some people respond well to that kind of coaching style. “But I didn’t. I
got worse. My confidence was shattered.”
After grade 12, she thought she’d never play competitive volleyball again.
But CMU women’s volleyball coach Vaughn Rempel Snider saw something special in
Bergen. “I knew she was struggling, but I also knew she was a very good player,”
When Bergen graduated in 2005, Rempel Snider offered her a scholarship to
play at CMU. “I really believed CMU was a place she could not only improve as a
player, but also be at a place where she could be part of a supportive
community,” she says.
Bergen declined, deciding to take a year off school. But Rempel Snider stayed
in touch; last year Bergen enrolled at the university. It turned out to be one
of the best decisions she ever made.
“It was a great year,” she recalls of the 2006 season. “I had never played on
a team where I felt so supported by my coaches and team mates. I recovered my
enthusiasm for the game.”
Her enthusiasm showed in her play. She was named a first team Central Plains
Athletic Conference (CPAC) All-Star and was named both the team MVP and the CMU
Female Rookie of the Year.
Bergen credits her coaches, team mates and CMU’s sports philosophy for the
turnaround. “It was great to have coaches who told me how good I was doing, and
how important I was to the team,” she says. “They were really inspiring. They
saw my potential, and helped me bring it out as a player without tearing me
But CMU’s emphasis on maintaining a close relationship with God was also
instrumental to her success, she says.
“Faith plays a big role in sports here at CMU,” says Bergen, who attends
Winnipeg’s Riverwood Community Church. “We’re always reminded that God should be
in every aspect of our lives, including volleyball.”
In particular, she appreciates how CMU encourages athletes to keep sports in
perspective with the rest of life. “I realized that life wasn’t just about
volleyball—it was about other things, too,” she says. “I developed a more
balanced approach to sport.”
Bergen eventually wants to go into nursing, but is back at CMU for another
year. But this time, instead of being a shy and nervous rookie, she is one of
the team’s leaders. “God gave me a gift for playing volleyball,” she says. “I
want to use it and enjoy it for as long as I can.”
Posted November 3, 2007
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