There are a few families in our province and city that are considered sports royalty.
Taylor Pischke is the youngest of such a family. She is 20 years old and a second-year science student at the University of Manitoba.
She is also a member on the U of M women’s volleyball team, and a member of the Canadian women’s beach volleyball team.
If it is possible to have a sport in your DNA, then Taylor may well have volleyball in hers. Her father, Garth, is a local legend and twice played for the Canadian Olympic volleyball team (in 1976 and 1984), while her mom Cindy played for the national junior volleyball team and won three CIS titles at the University of Saskatchewan. Taylor’s 23-year-old brother, Dane, plays for the National B volleyball team.
With all of that remarkable success and connection to the game, I wondered if Taylor felt if any pressure came with her last name.
"I have always been expected to play volleyball, but have never felt pressure from my family though," she said. "I have always thought it was a bit of an advantage."
Taylor has made the most of her opportunities with tremendous dedication and skill.
"We practise two to three hours a day, Monday to Friday, and weight train three days a week, between one and two hours a day. We play games on Friday or Saturday."
That’s her winter schedule for indoor volleyball. When summer comes around Taylor moves to Toronto to train and play as part of the national beach volleyball program, where her teammate is Melissa Humana-Paredes.
Taylor’s goals for beach volleyball are to play for Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games, and at the 2016 Olympic Games.
I asked Taylor if she could offer any advice for a younger athlete.
"I never specialized in volleyball when I was younger. I played every sport till Grade 12," said the graduate of Fort Richmond Collegiate.
"Don’t choose a specific sport too quickly, your interests might change. Take every opportunity that you are given, and take nothing for granted."