Once a Trojan, always a Trojan

Fifth-year volleyball veteran Samantha Carpenter reflects on time at SAIT

After five years of playing for SAIT’s women’s volleyball team, Trojan player Samantha Carpenter is getting ready to start her life and graduate from the hospitality management program.

Carpenter’s five years on the team had not gone exactly as she expected. She has faced her fair share of challenges, including chronic knee pain.

“Playing-wise, I’m done,” said Carpenter, who still wants to hit the court once a week in a competitive women’s league.

“My body can’t handle any more.”

Carpenter plans on coming back to the team next season; not as a player, but as an assistant coach.

“ [I will] hopefully pass on some of the knowledge that I’ve learned to them.”

She hopes to help next season’s team in any way she can, whether it be changing the wording of plays to help the team better understand them or providing a shoulder to lean on.

“I always joke around that I live and die at SAIT,” said Carpenter, who isn’t ready to fully leave SAIT behind.

“I’m not ready to let go of being part of the team.”

She describes her last five years at SAIT as some of the best times of her life and said that the school has given her many memories that she doesn’t plan on ever forgetting.

When the five-year veteran approached her coach with the idea of returning next year to join the coaching staff, she was shocked when he said he was more than willing to let her do so.

“He said ‘your leadership is what we need on this team, so by all means, come back,’” said Carpenter.

Hospitality management wasn’t Carpenter’s first course at SAIT, nor her second.

In order to play for five years, she had to stay in school, through which she earned three diplomas.

She first took a business diploma in marketing. After the two years, she decided to stay to play more volleyball.

During her third and fourth year on the team, Carpenter took her second diploma in management.

After that, she still wasn’t finished with volleyball.

For her final year, she decided to enroll in hospitality management, since it had business courses intertwined in it.

Carpenter was able to transfer some of her business classes over, lightening her course load for her final year.

“I didn’t want to take something that was a waste of my time,” she said.

So far, it hasn’t been a waste of time for Carpenter, who was not only able to spend the past season focused on volleyball, but has also been offered a job as a food and beverage manager at a golf course just outside of Calgary.

She credits her five years with the volleyball team and her coach for the growth and development that has made her the person she is today.

“In my first year, if I had known then what I know now, things would have been much different,” said Carpenter.

When joining the team at 18, all she wanted to do was play volleyball. She didn’t understand the time commitment and dedication it would take, on and off the court.

“I wasn’t at a mental capacity to handle it all,” she said.

With her grades slipping and some lack of playing time, Carpenter was frustrated.

Throughout her five years, she figured out what her coach wanted and needed from her. Now she has a much better relationship with him.

“He can tell me straight up what he wants and what he doesn’t want,” said Carpenter.

“I wish it was like that back then, but I understand why it wasn’t.”

Over the years her coach has told her when things were not okay, even when Carpenter thought they were.

“He has given me some ‘wake up, Sam moments,’” said Carpenter.

“I thank him for those moments, because now that’s exactly why I am the way I am right now.”

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