Standing at 6-foot-3, Aidan Haslett stares out into the expansive gym at Danforth Tech. He’s contemplating a change in roles on the court.
“If I’m going to go on in this sport I’m pretty short compared to other people that would play middle, so I would have to move up to power,” he says.
The Redhawk is preparing himself for the opening game of the co-ed volleyball season, but he’s already thinking ahead, stopping only briefly to reflect on the standout season Danforth’s senior boys had making AAA OFSAA.
“We went to some tournaments and didn’t do all that well but we went to one tournament in Stratford, (Ont.) where we really came together on and probably played the best we did all year,” he said, marking the benchmark for Danforth’s 2010 season. “Next season will be tough but we have a strong junior team which will come up to senior.”
Much like this past season, Haslett, also a member of the 17U Crush — ranked number 1 in the country — will be a leader players look to for help, coach Mark Graul said.
“Sometimes when you have a guy that’s really, really good, they’re egotistical and don’t want to help,” he said of his star middle. “But he helps out with the younger players to make them better.”
Haslett’s demeanour makes him all the more amiable.
“Some people have that arrogance about them — not him. He’s very polite,” Graul said. “He’s a math student, that’s our top program here, so he’s a very good student athlete.”
From his freshman year, Haslett has dominated the net but his bashfulness kept him from playing with the older squad.
“He could have played senior but we kept him down in junior to build up leadership skills,” Graul said. “In grade 10 he was still a little bit shy but he was starting to turn into a dominant player.”
Haslett has been spiking the ball since his years at Wilkinson Junior PS but dominance did not come until he focused all energy into volleyball.
He admits there’s more of an emphasis on the outdoor version of his sport rather than the gym.
“There’s more promotion and it’s bigger in beach,” he said. “Indoor it’s just the Europe league and national teams.”
Still, he doesn’t let that detract from his love of the sport.
“I just like the intensity you can get in it,” he said. “The feeling that you get when you play.”
Graul admires the loyalty Haslett has to his school.
“I didn’t know if he was going to play co-ed or not but when he doesn’t play with them he’s here with us,” he said. “It’s quite a commitment as well, trying to do two things at the end of the season.”
The game Haslett was waiting for turned out well, as the boys and girls beat University of Toronto Schools 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-20).