Wearing maple leaf ‘never gets old’ for World University Games participant
Fallingbrook’s Adam Simac has had a number of memorable experiences in the past few years as a professional volleyball player in Europe, but his first World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia from July 1-12 offered something new for the Team Canada middle.
“This was my first time attending an event of this magnitude,” the 25-year-old noted in an email to the Star from Serbia. “Even after talking to some other guys who had been through it before, nothing can really prepare you for it.”
One thing that was new for Simac and his team was facing teams that play styles they don’t see in North America, which required adjustments on the fly based on their opponents.
The 6-foot-8 Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School grad, who never played club volleyball before going to Queen’s University, is still learning new blocking cues from the national team coaches and incorporating them into his game.
It was also Simac’s first trip to Belgrade for a competition, although he was able to offer some insight into the history of the country for some of his teammates who had less international experience.
“For the guys on the team who hadn’t been to Europe before, it was a unique city to visit as there was still some visible damage from the civil war,” Simac added.“But this area is so rich in culture and the city is so metropolitan that everyone has been taking in as much as they can. Belgrade has done a great job in promoting itself as a welcoming city, so I’m sure I’ll be back in the future.”
One aspect that wasn’t totally new for Simac was playing for his country – he had a big role in helping the senior ‘A’ team to a silver medal at the June Pan Am Cup tournament in Mexico – but the gig as a national team member remains special to him.
“The best part about being at these Games (as well as playing for the national team all summer) is wearing the maple leaf and knowing that not only every time I step on the court, but every time I’m out in public,I’m representing Canada,”Simac said.“It’s something that never gets old for me.”
The Canadians amassed a 4-1 record in pool play – including a signature 3-2 victory over Egypt’s top squad – before being stopped by Russia in a two-point loss in the fifth set of the quarter-finals as the team wound up sixth overall.
Simac will be in action with the national team for an exhibition match against Australia at the University of Ottawa on July 21.
St. Peter Catholic High School grad Courtney Pilypaitis and the Canadian women’s basketball team didn’t have quite as successful a run, suffering several close defeats en route to a 2-5 record and a 15th-place finish.
The University of Vermont junior scored a total of 40 points in the tournament’s seven games.
Sir Wil grad Richard Adu-Bobie didn’t make the trip to run the 4X100-metre relay because he tore his quadricep.