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Senior Finds Discipline in Athletics
Men’s Volleyball Coach Sheila Gisbrecht was the first person from Elms College that Bryson Rainey ’14 ever spoke to. Bryson was a high school senior looking for a place to play volleyball for the next four years; throughout his college career, Bryson never lost touch with her.
“She helped me become a man,” said Bryson, a sociology major from Brookline, Massachusetts.
Bryson had a rough first year at Elms College. His grades were slipping and, although he was named New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Rookie of the Year, he wasn’t living up to his potential on the volleyball court.
“I was one of the stronger players on the team and I just took it for granted,” he said.
Bryson took the course Addiction and Recovery, taught by Fr. Mark Stelzer, Ph.D., and began to think about what it takes for a person to turn their life around.
“I started to understand what it would take to better myself. Not only disciplining myself, but understanding what’s important to me. What I truly care about,” Bryson said.
Bryson began spending a lot of time in the off-season working with Coach Gisbrecht. He added 30 pounds of muscle and a résumé that now includes three First Team All-NECC appearances, the 2014 NECC Player of the Year, the all-time Elms College leader in kills, and is now ranked second nationally among division III players in kills per set.
He improved in other aspects of his life, often following the advice of his coach. His grades improved, he began dating his current girlfriend (“I couldn’t have made it this far without her!”), and he began exploring his creative side.
A fine arts minor, Bryson loves all of his art classes. “Professor Moses is a genius, just the way he sees how the world works,” he said. He has also developed a sewing hobby, something he hopes will lead to a career in fashion.
“The best thing about Elms is that you’re able to express yourself here. You’re accepted by everyone,” he said.
During the athletic banquet, Bryson was named male Student Athlete of the Year and won the Iron Man award. He is interested in working in any field that allows him to help people, but hopes to one day work in fashion or art.