Spring 2003,
Volume 24, Number 1

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Vike Athlete - Chris Trumpy Home Court Advantage
By Joy Poliquin
Photography by Rob Kruyt

Chris Trumpy brings his skills—and no regrets—back to the Vikes after a year in U.S. college ball.

It’s 10:30 in the morning when I meet Chris Trumpy at the Student Union Buildinglate by his standards. The 20-year-old is wide awake, used to getting up by 6:30 to hit the gym. But today, dressed in long shorts and a UVic Athletics t-shirt, Trumpy is ready to take it easy. He doesn’t have to be at basketball practice until later this afternoon. We are outside Cinecenta and the campus is mostly empty; there are a few stragglers jump-starting the rush at the book store, but in this last week of August the campus is in repose. “I much prefer this to L.A.” says Trumpy, who plans to major in business. “UVic is so much more relaxed.”

Trumpy should know. After spending the 2000-2001 season with the Vikes, he shocked the team when he announced plans to play NCAA ball at Loyola Marymount University in L.A. He red-shirted—which meant he practised with the team but didn’t play in games. This year he’ll be back on the court with the Vikes.

“I wanted to try it,” says Trumpy, adjusting the strap on his backpack. The 6’2” point guard and former Canada West Rookie of the Year paid his own way to the U.S. school after sending tapes of his games to the coach, and hoped to earn a scholarship for the following year. But while he says the experience was worth it, the L.A. atmosphere and high pressure sports environment didn’t compare to UVic. Nonetheless, Trumpy is happy to have taken the road less traveled. “I didn’t want to have regrets,” he says, “and I had the opportunity to experience something very different. I figured I might as well try and if it didn’t work out, that’s life.”

He’s no stranger to testing new waters, especially in sports. While attending Oak Bay Secondary, Trumpy stretched his time between basketball, rugby, soccer, track, and cross country running.

It wasn’t until he came to UVic that he focused on his first love: hoops. And it is what has brought him back home to Victoria. “Being a varsity athlete is very high pressure in the States,” he says, as we stand in line to buy a cold drink. “If you don’t win, you’re in trouble. Playing up here is more low key, and that makes it much more enjoyable.”

A year of training in L.A., combined with a summer of practising with the Vikes, has Trumpy looking forward to a strong season. “Now I’m back, so I guess L.A. didn’t work out, but you can’t say I didn’t try,” he says with a smile.

He certainly isn’t one to skimp on effort, and his Vikes coaches agrees. “Chris is a tireless worker,” says Craig Beaucamp, a Vikes assistant coach who worked with Trumpy this past summer. “He brings leadership with him—he leads by example, and he works very hard on his game. We’re excited to see him on the court again, and I think he’s going to solidify what I anticipate to be a very good perimeter. Chris has high expectations and high goals for himself, and for his team-mates.”As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing then it doesn’t matter what other people think. You can’t be afraid to take chances. Trumpy admits he pushes himself hard, although he seems pretty relaxed. But, just below the surface is a fierce competitor. Even thinking that someone else is working harder than him makes him wake up earlier, spend extra time at the gym, and shoot those five extra baskets.

Juice in hand, we sit down on a bench outside the SUB, and Trumpy adjusts his sunglasses. He looks comfortable, enjoying the weather and a few moments of down time. But Trumpy isn’t one to sit still for long. He’s very focused, a trait from the court that translates into his everyday life.

Any spare time he does have he fills with activity. “I just think working out and occupying yourself are more productive than sitting in front of the TV,” he says. “There’s more constructive things I can do than just sit around, which is what drives me to go out and do stuff.”

This summer, Trumpy took up golf as another way of keeping busy, although he admits he’s got to work on his game. He’s also an avid reader, particularly of biographies, something he says helps to motivate him. Right now, he’s alternating between Gandhi and Winston Churchill. “I think it’s interesting to see what great people have done to make themselves the best,” he says. “You can learn a lot about people who have been there before and who have achieved a lot in their life.”

He brought the same philosophy to his summer job teaching basketball camps for kids in Victoria and on Saltspring Island. It’s something he has done for the past two years. It lets him travel and be outside all day with kids. For Trumpy, his summer job translates into his mantra: “I think you’ve got to find something that makes you happy and as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing then it doesn’t matter what other people think. You can’t be afraid to take chances.”

Joy Poliquin is a Writing major and co-op student working for the university’s communications office.

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