Tess Pearman has always followed her heart.
In Grade 12 the Ponoka native had to make a decision between volleyball or speed skating. She choose volleyball.
“I was super into speed skating, but once I got to Grade 12 I had to make a decision as I didn’t have time for both and I ended up falling in love with volleyball more,” she said. “As well if I was to continue on in speed skating I had to move to Calgary while in volleyball I had a number of choices.”
Tess’ older sister, 23-year-old Maddison, continued on in speed skating and is with the Nextgen National team program.
Once Tess decided to follow the volleyball trail she had to decide which post-secondary institution to attend and went with Grant MacEwan University.
After two years with the Griffins, one thing led to another and she decided to return closer to home and attend RDC and play for the Queens.
“Ever since I remember it was always in my heart to attend Red Deer College,” she said. “I watched a lot of their games back then and I loved it. Then when Talbot (head coach Walton) returned everything just lined up.”
But that doesn’t mean she didn’t enjoy playing for the Griffins.
“I had several options coming out of high school but I narrowed it down to Mount Royal, Red Deer and MacEwan,” the 20-year-old explained. “I loved the school in Edmonton, but after a couple tough years I decided to move back and be closer to home.”
Tess suffered a shoulder injury early in her first season with the Griffins and missed the remainder of the year. Her second year proved to be tough mentally with her boy friend being killed in a car crash and two weeks later her grandfather passing away.
“That was tough,” she said. “That’s life and nothing can be done except carry on, but I just needed a new start.”
The six-foot Pearman will be a perfect addition to the Queens, bringing experience, mental toughness and of course talent to the program. She’s played middle, but will likely be used on the outside.
“I started volleyball in Grade 6 and was in the middle because I was the tall one,” she said. “I played there until my second year of club and asked if I could play on the outside.”
She was recruited by MacEwan as an outside hitter and played there for the first two weeks of the 2017-18 season with the Griffins before an injury forced her to move back in the middle.
‘That’s when I injured my shoulder,” she said.
Her second season she was once again on the outside, mainly on the right side.
The plan is for her to be on the outside with the Queens.
“Technically it’s still a new position for me, but I hope to play on the outside, either right or left side … either one is no big deal to me,” she said.
The Queens have been scrimmaging every second Thursday, and while all the players can’t be on hand, a good number are.
“They have a new ball which I’m getting used to plus it’s a great opportunity to meet everyone and for us to bond before the season,” Pearman added.
Tess knows several of the veteran players, having played club with or against them.
Of the new players several are from the defending Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A champion Lindsay Thurber Raiders. As well two of the setters aren’t available with one coming in from Victoria while Kelly Heinemann, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, is in Edmonton.
As well the Queens haven’t been in the Gary W Harris Canada Games Centre yet as they’re putting down a new floor.
“I haven’t seen it yet, so that will be exciting,” added Pearman, who will go into the education program.
“Secondary education is my end goal right now, but I’ll be here for a couple years and then decide. I may have to go to the U of A or possibly Lethbridge to continue on. Or I may want to continue to play … we’ll see where life takes me then.”
One thing is for sure it will be where her heart takes her.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org