BY MIA ARCINIEGAS / STAFF WRITER
Tyler Weenink, #15 on the Men’s Basketball Team. Photo submitted.
December is a time of reflection, a time to close old chapters and prepare for new ones. Not only is it the end of the year, but it is also the end of the basketball season for 2022, and the Fall academic term here at Augustana. With this series of events coming to a close, my interview with 5th year Biology Major and Viking’s Basketball player, Tyler Weenink, took place at just the right time. Originally from Rimbey, Alberta, Tyler is also double-minoring in Chemistry and Physical Education. In the following interview, we take a look back on Tyler’s experience as a student athlete and what he hopes to take away from his time at Augustana.
Our conversation went as follows:
1. What initially got you interested in Basketball?
“To be honest, it was mostly because my older brother started getting interested in it, and of course, as the younger brother I was super competitive with him. As soon as he started getting into it, so did I. But this happened a little later on, and I didn’t start playing until about grade eight. At that point, he was in high school trying out for the team and I kind of followed in his footsteps and wanted to be like him. That’s when I started playing and fell in love with it from there. Despite trying out other sports such as hockey, soccer, and a little bit of football, basketball is the one that stuck.”
2. What is your favorite thing about basketball?
“I think for me it’s the team aspect of it, getting to play on the team with my friends, building that relationship with them, and working as a team is one of my favourite things about it.”
3. Since this is your last year at Augustana, what is some advice you would tell your first-year self? This can be related to sports, academics, social life, etc.
“I would say to be more open and be yourself. When I first came here I was concerned about what everyone else was thinking of me constantly. But now that I’ve opened up a lot more and do things for myself, I don’t worry as much about what others might be thinking. You just enjoy yourself so much more when you’re doing what you want to do. I definitely wish I would’ve come out of my shell a little sooner.”
4. Do you have a pre-game ritual or a routine to lessen any anxiety beforehand?
“I don’t really have anything in particular that I try to do. Usually before an away game I’ll listen to an album from one of my favourite artists on the way up. Other than that I just take the time to stretch and get myself in the mental headspace for the game.”
5. Pros & cons of being 6’8?
- You hit your head on everything: doorways, light bulbs, exit signs…
- You can’t really fit on the bus
- Anything where I have to fit in a small space is not ideal.
- It’s great in crowds and concerts, it’s easy to see and be seen.
6. If you had to sum up the season in 3 words, what would they be?
“Exciting, challenging, and rewarding.”
7. On a scale of 1-10 what would you rate how your overall year has gone so far? (academics, sports, etc.)
“It’s been a pretty good year, I’m gonna go with 8.5.”
8. What do you find the most challenging about being a student athlete, or about basketball in general?
“The most challenging part would be time management, knowing you have to get work done a little earlier without having as much time in the day. Even selecting classes that fit your schedule can be challenging.”
9. What advice do you have for anyone contemplating getting involved or starting out in sports?
“I think the biggest advice is to remember that you’re there to have fun. Even as you progress throughout the years on the team and you get more responsibility, it is still important to remember that you’re there to enjoy yourself.”
10. As a team, how do you approach losses?
“I think the biggest thing is that you never lose if you learn something from it. Our coaches try to instill that; taking on a mentality where you can be prepared for losses but still get the best out of it. Instead of focusing on the loss, we focus on what we can do differently next time.”
11. What is something else that you would like people to know about you, or, a fun fact?
“I can play the guitar. I started learning a couple of years ago, so I’m not that great. Actually, I got into it as a part of a class assignment, and I borrowed my mom’s guitar. I have enjoyed it ever since so I kept going with it.”
12. What are your plans for after Graduation, and where do you see basketball fitting in, if at all?
“I applied to Medicine for next year. I am waiting to hear back, but if I don’t get in, my plan is to take a year off. I will either stay in Camrose or move to Edmonton with my brother. I would also like to do a bit of travelling as well. Pretty much just using that year to do things that I haven’t had as much time for. Either way, I’m excited. Basketball wise, I don’t plan on doing much competitively in the future, but I might end up coaching some day, who knows?”
13. What will you miss the most about being a Viking?
“The team, the guys, I will miss the camaraderie. I’ll miss the competitive aspect of sports, that’s what makes it fun. Once you’re not playing at a high level, it just won’t feel the same.”
14. What lessons has being an athlete taught you that you can or have applied to other areas of your life?
“Being able to manage your time and figuring out ways to manage how you approach tasks. It’s kind of cliché, but putting in hard work and getting through things even when they’re tough.”
15. What do you hope to take away from your time playing basketball at Augustana?
“Well, we’ve touched on this a bit already, but taking away lessons like being able to work in a team, work through struggles, and balance between work and sports. Especially the connections I’ve made on the team after spending so much time with them.”
My interview with Tyler left me thinking a lot about the future, and reflecting on the past. It was a pleasure to hear about his time here at Augustana and about what he looks forward to. The next home game is taking place on January 13th with the women’s game at 6pm and the men’s at 8pm, where our basketball teams will be up against Concordia University of Edmonton. I’d like to thank Tyler for taking the time to share about his experiences. It was interesting hearing about what it is like to balance the demands of playing on a sports team and staying on top of academics, as well as all the exciting things that have come out of his past few years at Augustana.
Happy Holidays, readers!