Above: The 2000-2001 RMC Volleyball Team. Claire Bramma is #5 and Milena Johnson is #2.
Article by 22461 LCol Claire Bramma (Class of 2002) and 22508 Lt(N) Milena Johnson (Class of 2003)
As former RMC Paladins volleyball athletes we would like to share a short story about a recent reunion during a Canadian Armed Forces Regional sports event. We recently faced off against one another at the Quebec Region Volleyball championships held at CFB Bagotville. For us it signified the strong bonds created from our RMC varsity experience and it also demonstrated that ex-Cadets can continue to excel in the sport that they love well beyond graduation.
Claire was representing Canadian Forces Support Unit Ottawa (CFSUO) and Milena was representing the Montreal Garrison. At the beginning of the tournament on 26 February, we reunited before the opening ceremonies, catching-up on one another’s news and expressing our gratitude for being able to “get away” from their respective duties to represent their Regions on the volleyball court. Although we both expressed that we were there “just to have fun”, our styles of play throughout the tournament showed the passion and determination that we both inherited from our RMC varsity days. We were teammates on the Lady Paladins volleyball team between 1999-2002, with PSP instructor Brendan Bennet as our coach. In that period we played in the Ontario College Athletic Association, which brought many road trips around the province, including 2 trips to the playoffs, so we certainly went through a lot together. We figure that “Benny would be proud to see us continuing to play volleyball!”
Our teams made it to the gold medal final on 27 February and we played a hard-fought match against one another, both playing as left-side power hitters. Although CFSUO came away victorious, we both brought our A-game. There were several exciting rallies during which we were digging each others’ hard-hit attacks. As a result, we were each named as Most Valuable Players for our respective teams and we were presented with Bagotville hoodie sweaters (which is ironic for Claire being an Army Officer (Royal Canadian Engineers) and Milena as an officer with the Royal Canadian Navy (Social Worker).
We both came away from this tournament filled with gratitude that the sport of volleyball remains an accessible outlet for us. We are also thankful for our RMC experience which has given us life-long friendships and the ability to approach challenges, whether on or off the sports field, with determination and tenacity. We are also filled with gratitude to be able to continue to compete (and excel) in our favourite sport (despite our “mature” age) – TDV!