Sisler High School graduate Alexandra Brezinski is taking her French language skills from the classroom to the court.
The 18-year-old Tyndall Park resident is playing for the Manitoba 18U volleyball team at the 2014 Canadian Francophone Games in Gatineau, Que. The games run from July 23 to 27.
"It’s kind of a way to improve my French, because I’m going to post-secondary education at the University of Winnipeg," Brezinski said. "I’m in the education program and I’m going to major in French, so just as a way to keep my French up and keep talking. My French teacher suggested I try it out."
Brezinski, who started playing volleyball in Grade 7 at Stanley Knowles School, took part in preliminary tryouts in January, cracking the 12-player roster after the final tryout in May.
Brezinski said most of her teammates are from Collège Louis-Riel and that she hadn’t met most of them prior to making the team, a fact she believes plays into her greatest strength on the court.
"I talk a lot. I’m definitely a parent on the court," Brezinski said. "I really quickly get a good relationship with all the girls on the team. With bigger teams its a little harder, especially with this one because we don’t practice that often, but I feel with my personality I can get to know people really quick. You start making that bond.
"I’m one of the older girls and probably the most experienced, so I really try to do my part, make everyone feel like a team and be super comfortable."
In addition to four years with Sisler, Brezinski plays for the Joust Volleyball Club and plans to play for the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen women’s volleyball team in the fall.
"I like the feeling of being on a team and playing together," said Brezinski, who has also played soccer and curling. "I like the competitiveness of it. I’m not a big contact sports person. I tried other sports but volleyball was the one that seemed to stick."
Brezinski, who is of Polish and Ukrainian descent on her dad’s side and Portuguese on her mom’s side, said her name sticks out like a sore thumb on the Manitoba team.
"I’m the only one without an accent in their name," Brezinski said. "It’s funny because myparents don’t speak French and all of our parents were at a parent meeting and they’re all like speaking French to each other. My mom knows super basic French. She took French in elementary. She’s like ‘Bonjour! Comment ça va?’ I’m like ‘Mom, stop.’ She’s like ‘Ou et toilette?’"