- Rachel Enns, DHH Itinerant Teacher
Over the May Long weekend, Abbie Langille began her journey to the Deaflympics, in a European Tournament in Montpellier, France. This tournament was the first international tournament in a series to take place over the next four years, which will lead to the Deaflympics in 2021. Abbie is the youngest of the nine players on the volleyball team, which is made up of players ranging in age from 16-25 from across Canada. Lead by Coach Mary Dyck of Alberta, who was recognized as a leader in sport by the Canadian Deaf Sports Association, Abbie debuted as a professional volleyball player.
For Abbie, an active teenager who has been involved in sports her entire life, volleyball is her true passion, the sport she connects with the most. When asked how long she has been playing, she responded, “I have been playing since I could walk basically. I would always go to mom’s volleyball games growing up as a child, and would try to join in whenever I could. Finally, when I was old enough, I started playing on a team of my own.” In addition to the Canadian Women’s Deaflympics Volleyball Team, Abbie plays club volleyball through Volleyball Nova Scotia.
It is through the Volleyball Nova Scotia website that she first became aware of the Canadian Women’s Deaflympics Volleyball Team. There was an advertisement on the website looking to recruit more players, as a few players from the current team were retiring. Abbie was nominated anonymously, and the Coach, Mary Dyck, contacted her mother, Kristen, and the rest is history!
For Abbie, this experience truly is a dream come true, as her and her teammates played against tough competition, many playing without cochlear implants for the first time, and were able to capture the gold medal! When reflecting on the tournament, Abbie talked about how she always wanted to become a professional volleyball player, and play in the Olympics some day, but she never thought it would happen. She wants younger Deaf or Hard of Hearing athletes that hope to play in the Deaflympics to take this advice to heart, “I would just say keep doing your best at what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. Keep practicing and keep trying your hardest, as you never know what is going to happen.”
Photo courtesy of her mother, Kristen Langille