Muhammad Ali’s famous saying, "Float like a butterfly sting like a bee" comes to mind upon meeting Warren Henschel. At a glance, standing at an imposing 6’4"Henschel, the senior player of the Dinos men’s volleyball team is no butterfly. With his spike of the ball, Henschel’s sting becomes quickly apparent. Vet off court this athletic bee, becomes the quiet, unassuming nursing student who is able to show his gentler butterfly side.
It is hard to imagine that at 23, Henschel is considered a veteran of the Dinos men’s volleyball team. At the age of 16, while attending high school in Edmonton he spiked his first volleyball. Influenced by his brother’s love for the sport, he quickly abandoned his aspirations of basketball and concentrated his efforts on volleyball. When time came for graduation, he found himself actively recruited by coaches of the top three volleyball programs in Canada; the universities of British Columbia, Alberta and Calgary. His decision to choose Calgary over the others was easy because, at the time, U of C had a very young team.
"I thought I had a chance of playing here…We had no fifth years my first year."
This meant an opportunity to be on the starting lines of the Dinos team, as opposed to being on the bench at either U of A or UBC as a first-year student. In addition Henschel says he, "felt like moving away, trying just living on my own, doing things on my own so Calgary wasn’t too far and they had a good program, they always have and (coach Greg Ryan) was recruiting me heavily."
Indeed, Ryan’s efforts paid off. In Henschel’s first year as a Dino, he was a starter. This gave him the tremendous opportunity of spreading his athletic wings and improving his skills–skills that were so finely honed with those of his teammates, that they won the Dino Cup in 1998 against the University of California at Los Angeles.
"We were down two nothing to UCLA and came back to win."
This, Henschel’s most memorable moment with the U of C Dino’s, will stay with him long after his retirement this spring.
However, he still feels he has much to accomplish in his sport. Next year, with plans to complete the three courses remaining in his nursing degree, he will also work as a student nurse and improve his beach volleyball skills in his spare time.
With beach volleyball on the rise in Canada, Warren has already had a taste of this potentially lucrative sport.
"I played beach volleyball for fun for a little while, but a couple of years ago I went into one of the Labatt’s beach volleyball tours that featured some of the best Canadian players. My partner and I came in seventh and won $500 each. So I thought that was alright."
With the Labatt’s tour in Canada, the US beach volleyball tour and the renowned international beach volleyball tour, Henschel will have various opportunities to choose from.
"There’s a lot of money on the tour sometimes," says Henschel. "[Beach volleyball] is a lot easier on the joints and it’s a more tactical sport as opposed to the power driven sport [of indoor volleyball]."
Whatever he decides, Warren Henschel has had a tremendous career as a volleyball player with the U of C Dinos. It is clear that he is successfully balancing the responsibilities of being a nurse and potentially an amateur volleyball player. Indeed the bee and the butterfly work well together in Warren Henschel.