by Damien Alarcon
“I am not a golfer, I am a hockey player.” This quote does not exactly pertain to senior Jason Flick as it does to Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore,” but it is pretty close.
Since the age of 4, Flick has participated and loved ice hockey. Unlike Gilmore, Flick has excelled in the sport.
But at the University of La Verne, Flick has been a major contributor to the volleyball team for the past three seasons. Last fall, Flick decided to play football for the first time.
The 24-year-old physical education major was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y.
“Back at home, everyone loves ice hockey, and I loved it. I only played volleyball to kill time,” said Flick.
He attended Frontier High School, one of the state’s top contenders in ice hockey, where he excelled in both ice hockey and volleyball.
After high school, he was recruited to play hockey at Erie Community College, which was also a state contender among junior colleges.
“I was so focused on ice hockey that I was not keeping up with my school work,” he said.
Due to his grades, Flick never got to play for Erie.
He decided to change and discontinued hockey momentarily. After getting his two-year degree, Flick was recruited through a friend, Greg Harasymowych, to play volleyball at the University of La Verne.
“Greg influenced me to come, and through him I met Don Flora [men’s volleyball head coach, 1994-97]. Greg and I used to play against each other in high school for rival schools.” Greg later went on to transfer to Cal State Northridge, where he still plays volleyball.
The volleyball team, which has endured a successful season overcoming many Division I schools, is fighting to maintain a spot to compete for the national championships. Flick has delivered both strength and inspiration to the team as the starting middle blocker.
“When I heard that Jason was going out for the football team, I was not sure of his intentions whether or not he wanted to play volleyball,” said head volleyball coach Jack Coberly, “but he came out and showed that he is simply an athlete.”
Coberly adds that Flick’s “sheer will to win” enabled him to “help [the team] statistics-wise, and personality-wise as well.”
Coberly said Flick is currently ranked fourth nationally in Division III in blocks with an average of 1.53 per game.
Last semester, Flick was influenced, not pushed, into trying out for the football team by roommates sophomore Keli’i Gouveia, junior Milo Epling, senior Paul Hatter and alumnus Anthony Russo.
“[In the summer] we would play around on the field and I thought ‘Heck, why not?'” said Flick.
Being 6’3″ and 225 pounds, Flick had no problem adapting to the new sport. He became the team’s starting tight end.
“One of my greatest accomplishments ever was making it through hell week,” he said.
Flick’s tight end coach, Mark Potocki said, “Going out for football for the first time, especially for your senior year, is difficult. Jason did an excellent job at that.”
Flick credits his parents, Pat and Bill, for inspiring and pushing him to complete his schooling and to enjoy himself, whether it is through being with friends or through sports.
Besides attending class and playing volleyball, Flick also coaches the eighth grade boys’ volleyball team at Holy Name of Mary in La Verne. Experience gives comfort to Flick in coaching since last year he was an assistant coach to the men’s varsity volleyball team at Ganesha High School. In 1996, Flick did Summer Service at Camp Myrtlewood in Oregon, which he described as being in “the middle of the nowhere.”
There, he “did everything,” which includes cooking, cleaning, cutting the grass and counseling. Last summer, he worked at the YMCA in Upland.
Flick misses playing ice hockey, even though he is not exactly through with the sport.
“Whenever I have spare time, I still play ice hockey in leagues in Long Beach and play in scrimmages. I have also been playing roller hockey,” he said.
Other hobbies of his include mountain biking and snow boarding.
Epling said, “Being so far away from home, he doesn’t show how much he misses it. He always finds a way to keep himself busy.”
Flick admits that he does miss being at home. He said, “I miss the snow, not as many people, not as much traffic, better drivers.”
After graduation, he wants to attend graduate school at ULV and eventually wants to become a teacher.
Coberly also adds, “His drive to success is inherent in everything he does and that will benefit him in the future.”