Abbie Langille comes by her love of volleyball honestly.
“She’s been coming to my games since she could walk,” said her mother, Kristen Langille. “She used to warm up with us.”
“I fell in love with volleyball through my mom,” said Abbie, a Grade 11 student.
Abbie, who was born deaf, is preparing to suit up with a Canadian team for a competition qualifier in Brazil. The squad is comprised of 10 other hearing-impaired players, age 15 through their late 30’s.
Abbie participated in a weekend tryout in Edmonton earlier this year and was at a loss for words when she found out she’d made the team.
“I didn’t believe it. I was in shock, even the next day I was still in shock.”
This won’t be the first time for Abbie representing Canada in deaf volleyball. Last year, she travelled to France to compete in a tournament where her team brought home gold.
Abbie wears cochlear implants which help her hear, but she doesn’t wear them on the court. She found in Europe it took some getting used to.
“The first match was hectic,” she said. “We found a way to communicate. We used a lot of visuals and hand signals.”
Abbie has also been learning hand signals off the court, as well.
“There are some girls who only use sign language so it’s really different for her. She has an app on her phone so she’s learning,” said Kristen, who, a volleyball player herself, found it a whole new experience as a spectator in France.
“It was the quietest volleyball game I’ve ever seen.”
Abbie has two mandatory practices in May and August to attend in Hamilton, Ont., before the world deaf volleyball championships qualifier in November in Brazil.
She said they are encouraged to stay active and continue to practise on their own time, which is not a problem for her, according to mom.
“She also does basketball and track, so she keeps busy.”
With a top-four finish in Brazil, her team will qualify for the world deaf volleyball championship in June 2020 in Italy, something both Abbie and Kristen look forward to.
“Italy is my dream, so you’d better make it,” said her mother, chuckling.