Mike Harper of the men’s volleyball team has finished his final season. At the end of this season, he will no longer be eligible to play on the team.
Mike is from Oakville where he went to Iroquois High School. He played middle blocker for the Lords.
Mike is currently finishing up a degree in the marketing and promotions program.
“[Mike] was a pleasure to play with because you know every time he gets a block he turns around, throws up his fist, and screams,” said John Pham of the Durham Lords men’s volleyball team. “You can expect that every time he gets a solid block and I love that emotion he gives off.”
Apparently, Mike’s favourite band is Zac Brown Band, his favourite TV show is the Big Bang Theory, and he loves to play Call of Duty with his teammates. His favourite movie is 21 Jump Street, and his favourite sports team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, there is so much more to Mike than can simply be found in his profile on the Durham Lords website.
“The first words that come to my mind when I think of my years coaching Mike are: coachable, athletic and hardworking,” said Mike’s former coach, Taylor Langdon.
Langdon coached Mike when he was in grade nine playing for Pakmen volleyball club out of Mississauga.
“He had the natural ability people work for their whole careers and can’t obtain,” said Langdon. “He was a natural born leader and was willing to carry and bring the team up in any positions we put him in.”
Langdon also said that it was difficult to tell if Mike would continue to play volleyball after his time with the coach. This was because Mike was a versatile athlete who played two other sports.
“I was very into roller hockey and ice hockey,” said Mike. “I only played competitive volleyball that one year outside of high school.”
Mike didn’t even start playing volleyball right away in college. “I didn’t decide to play competitive volleyball until my second year of college,” said Mike. “[I wanted] to see if I still had what it takes to compete.”
Langdon even emphasized Mike’s competitive nature when he said, “Mike is the type of guy that will always be involved in sport. I’m not surprised at all that he is involved in such a high level of sport to this day.”
Former teammates Erik Janssen and John Pham had nothing but praise for Harper, with Janssen saying, “Mike has always had a veteran mentality on the team since I joined two years ago. He is the kind of guy that always goes back to the service line with confidence and goes for that challenging serve and the kind of middle blocker that gets clutch blocks or kills when the game is close.”
Mike has had a huge influence on his teammates, as Janssen said Mike brought a lot of intensity to the team and was still a good friend. “[He was] never shy to invite the whole team over to hang out.”
With his time playing volleyball coming to a close, Mike is looking to the future.
“It is bitter sweet,” said Harper. “I am very excited to start my career in the business of sport, but also I will miss playing with the great group of guys at Durham and battling each and every night either in practice or against an opponent.”