Eugene native, Brent Hample, grew up playing team sports. As a lifelong athlete, he looked to volleyball as a way to stay in shape as an adult and found his place among the morning DAC volleyball players.
When did you join the DAC?
Brent: My anniversary actually just passed in November, I joined in 1999. I was looking for a place to play volleyball in the area and had been coming as a guest with my brother-in-law. I started playing with the coed group back when the court was where the fitness floor is now located.
Had you played volleyball before?
Brent: No, not more than what we played in P.E. In school, my sports were football and men’s gymnastics. I was on the South Eugene Men’s Gymnastics Team and we took state three out of four years. One year we were an All American team. But it’s hard to continue that as you get older. With volleyball, I was really bad when I first started. There were a lot of people playing and you would rotate in. I just kept at it and eventually got better.
When do you play?
Brent: The volleyball group plays at 6:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We play two on two or three on three, so it’s really good cardio. Usually we play for an hour or hour and a half depending on how people are feeling.
It’s open to anyone who wants to drop in, any level of player. Most people are their worst critic, but as long as you keep at it, you’ll get better. That’s what I did and I love it.
What is the volleyball crew like?
Brent: It’s a fun group. We talk smack with each other, but it’s all in good fun. We’ve been playing together for so long now. Trace comes early every morning at 6:00 to set up the nets by himself. We can always rely on him to be the first one out there.
Trace actually graduated from South Eugene the same year I did, so we sort of knew each other before, but not well. We started playing volleyball and now we’re closer than when we were in high school.
Sometimes we will see members of the group off the court. David used to have a Christmas party at his house and he would invite all the volleyball folks. We’ll see each other at the DAC socials. Sometimes we’ll get to talking about yard work or fixing up the house and end up loaning each other equipment. They are great people.
What is your favorite part of the volleyball group?
Brent: It’s an excellent workout, but I wouldn’t even really call it a workout because it’s so fun. If you can find something that keeps you fit and is fun, you’re set. Since starting, I have lost weight and I’m in better shape but it’s just part of my lifestyle now.
One of the biggest barriers is that it’s at 6:30 a.m. and that’s hard if you’re “not a morning person.” But to that I say, I would rather embrace the morning doing something I truly enjoy than drag myself to a workout after the work day, which I’m going to hate. With the volleyball group, it’s cardio at your pace. You get what you put in.
Thank you to Brent Hample for sharing his story. Join the volleyball players in the Newberry Gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. All levels and players are welcome!