Kumar will be joining forces
The fact Varun Kumar is going into the Canadian Army should come as little surprise.
“He knows what a team is all about,” said Walnut Grove senior boys basketball coach George Bergen.
“He is not in it for personal gratification, but is a real team player.
“He is a hard worker and always left it all on the floor, in practice and in games,” the long-time coach added.
“A lot of these values that young players learn in a basketball situation are very transferable to his future.”
And with his high school days winding down, the Grade 12 student is getting set to embark on the next chapter in his life, trading in his basketball — at least from a competitive standpoint — to study mechanical engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont. after earning a scholarship to the prestigious school.
“Varun is a conscientious student and a very conscientious basketball player,” Bergen said.
“He has a real desire to learn and was coachable. Those are all positive qualities.”
Kumar will spend his first year in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC and the rest in Kingston.
Attending RMC has been Kumar’s goal for the past few years.
One of his father’s friends, a close family friend, had attended the school.
“He was always someone I looked up to as a mentor,” Kumar said.
“And that just always motivated me to go there.”
Upon completion of his studies, Kumar will be required to fulfill a five-year contract as an officer in the Canadian army.
One tough part for Kumar is stepping away from competitive basketball. He will continue to play the game, but just at the intramural level.
He credits basketball for his drive.
“Basketball really brought that competitive fire out of me,” Kumar explained.
“Everything I wanted to do, I just wanted to be competitive and challenge myself.”
Basketball was the only sport he played growing up.
His father, Senthil Kumar, had played the game back in India and put a basketball in his young son’s hands when he was two or three years old.
Kumar has played organized basketball since the second grade.
“I fell in love with the game and knew it was the game for me,” he explained.
Kumar did admit it will be a different feeling of not playing for the Walnut Grove program after five successful years, which included a B.C. 3A high school boys provincial championship in 2013.
“It is definitely something that I am used to, all your coaches and teammates, all the fans,” he explained.
“It will be hard to step away from that but I think I will manage at school with my new environment.”
Kumar has also received all three levels — gold, silver and bronze — of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The award aims to help the participants on a journey of self-development, self-training and personal achievement.
It is eligible to people between the ages of 14 and 25 and to date, more than 500,000 Canadians and more than seven million youth in 130 countries have earned the award.