SIBLING STANDOUTS SHARE PASSION FOR CBU VOLLEYBALL
Kim and Aaron McCalmont wear the same number and play the same position as members of the women's and men's volleyball teams at CBU. (Photo and article by Grace Ferrell)
RIVERSIDE (March 4, 2013) - Aaron McCalmont often gets asked who the tall girl is he hangs around with. That girl is his younger sister by 14 months, Kim McCalmont. Together the siblings have taken the men's and women's volleyball teams of California Baptist University by storm.
"We are not a brother and sister who are just on the teams," said Aaron, a kinesiology major at CBU. "We are both making an impact on the teams. It is cool to know that we have both been given the ability to play at the college level, and we both are in a position on the team that we are helping the teams out."
It all began in San Diego, Calif., where pick-up games of beach volleyball at South Mission Beach are a way of life for their parents, uncle and cousins.
"Everyone fears the McCalmonts," Aaron said.
The pair went on to play volleyball for their high school. After graduation, they split up to attend different universities. However, following a game in San Diego, their father approached CBU's former volleyball coach to ask about the university. That initial conversation would lead Aaron and eventually Kim to transfer to CBU.
"(CBU) didn't find us," Aaron said. "We found them."
After making the two-hour drives from San Diego just for open gym practices, senior players took Aaron under their wings and made him feel welcome, even when he had yet to become an official member — a normal practice for CBU athletics, he said.
The next year Kim followed her brother to the Riverside campus, making it feel even more like home for both of them and enabling them to support each other through the challenges of balancing life as a student athlete.
"I am like a guy version of her, and she is like a girl version of me," Aaron said.
"Except that he is a lot better than me at the sport," added Kim, with a glance at her brother.
Both siblings say they have never let the competitive nature of athletics become a part of their relationship.
"We try our best and that is all we can do," Kim said.
Both players sport the same jersey number and position on their teams — #24, outside hitter.
Their connection and love for the sport continues off the court through Bible studies that both have started for members of their teams.
"God has definitely placed us here for a reason, and we want to use that to the best of our abilities to influence the girls and the guys on our team and help them out," Kim said.
While slightly intimidating to get started, the pair said they are using the Bible to make volleyball an on-and-off the court ministry.
Graduation will mark the end of Aaron's undergraduate experience and the pair's time together at CBU.
"It is going to be weird without him next year because I only know CBU with him here," Kim said.
Aaron hopes to continue playing volleyball internationally and use the sport as a platform to reach out to others and share his faith. Kim will finish her undergraduate degree at CBU and hopes one day to become a teacher.
No matter where life takes the siblings, though, both say one constant will remain — a passion for volleyball.