The ‘hype’ train is leaving Durham station

Photo by Chris Jones

Braydon Rodgers visits the halls of the old gym at the Athletic Centre.

“Braydon [Rodgers] brought fire to the team,” says Durham Lords men’s volleyball player, John Pham. “He always knew when to hype the team. He was our hype man.”

After winning silver at the Ontario College Athletic Association championship, former rookie of the year Braydon Rodgers’ time with the Lords men’s volleyball team has come to an end. As the Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA) came to an end, so did Braydon’s time as a Lord.

Braydon was the libero of the volleyball team, which means that he specializes in defensive play. He wore a jersey that was a different colour from his teammates. As a libero, he is not allowed to attack or block the ball while it is completely above the net, which means that he was not able to spike the ball. The libero is also able to replace any player in the back row without giving the officials any notice. Essentially, Braydon had unique responsibilities on the court.

On top of his responsibilities on the court, according to his profile on the Durham Lords website, Braydon’s nickname is Stabby. His favourite movie is the Mighty Ducks, favourite pro team is the Anaheim Ducks, and his most influential person is former Duck, Teemu Selanne.

While attending Uxbridge Secondary School, Braydon won awards called the Athletic Pin and Tiger Award. The Athletic Pin is given to the students who achieved at least eight athletic points. The Tiger Award is a leadership award given to students who have shown leadership qualities.

Former teammate Erik Janssen said, “Braydon is the Energizer Bunny of the team. Always getting everyone pumped up before the game and during warm up.”

Janssen and Pham have both said that Braydon is a positive force on the team, bringing an almost unattainable level of energy to the team.

“He has never spoken a word of doubt about anyone of his teammates,” Janssen said. “He will tell you to your face that he is pumped up to make big plays with you and see you do well, which is an incredibly inspiring feeling.”

“No I didn’t know [that he’d be playing well into his twenties],” said Braydon’s high school coach, Tony Kiriakou. “He came in with a passion for the game and started off not knowing a lot about the game.”

But once again, another person emphasized Braydon’s enthusiasm. “You could tell his enthusiasm for the game and his love of the game really started to blossom as the season wore on.

“He was very competitive,” said Coach Kiriakou. “He always wanted to make sure our team got better. He would want to practice outside of regular practice times.”

Everyone who talks about Braydon talks about his passion and love for the game. From his high school coach to his college teammates, Braydon Rodgers is a hype man.

Braydon said that it’s a bittersweet moment for him, leaving the team.

“It’s very sad knowing that next year I won’t be returning to such a great program and having some of my best friends around me everyday. A lot of passion, heart and desire has gone into the sport I love,” said Braydon

Finally, Braydon said, “Being named rookie of the year my first year at Durham and now leaving my last year with a medal around my neck as well as a first team all star for all of Ontario… it was an unforgettable experience playing at Durham and I have memories that will last a life time.”

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Christopher Jones is a second year journalism student. He enjoys writing about video games, sports and politics. His work can also be seen on Riot Radio at Durham College and out of Montreal. In his spare time Christopher enjoys reading, playing video games and catching up on his long list of TV shows. He hopes to go into either video game journalism or into sports one day.