Team Member Spotlight: Chris Collins
Taking it to the Rim: Chris Collins drives others to be their best every day
The Covenant Gymnasium is bustling on this particular Saturday afternoon. The JV Boys Basketball team is playing their cross-town rival, Western Albemarle – and they’re behind. Early in the second half, a Western player grabs the defensive rebound and starts driving down to the other end of the court. “Get a stop! Lets go boys!” Head JV Boys Basketball Coach Chris Collins’ voice can be heard over the rest of the chatter. He knows that this is an important play and clearly hopes a stop here will shift the game’s momentum in his team’s favor. They get it. And, sure enough, the energy changes in the gym. Covenant’s passes get sharper, their defense tightens its grip, and their shots find the net. Soon, the game is tied. Both teams start trading the lead back and forth, but Covenant’s home court advantage gives them a definite edge. Covenant wins, beating Western 47-44.
After the game, Chris Collins shakes the hands of his fellow coaches and smiles. “Man, that was a good game. Really fun to watch. Proud of them.” He gathers the coaches for a picture and then heads to the locker room to give a postgame speech.
If you ask Chris Collins if he’s busy, he smiles and nods. “Yep, I am – especially during basketball season.” Looking at his calendar, it’s not hard to see why. By day, he’s a Membership Coordinator and Group Exercise Instructor at acac Downtown. By night, he’s the Head JV Boys Basketball Coach at Covenant. Practices, games, and tournaments fill his nights and weekends from mid-November to late February. He also manages to have a life outside of work while spreading his love of fitness throughout the Charlottesville community. Some people openly wonder, with a chuckle, when he has time to sleep. But, with his seemingly boundless energy, Chris is up for the task.
Basketball has been a part of Chris Collin’s life since he was a kid. “I started playing basketball when I was nine. Third grade,” he said. He fell in love with the sport and progressed through the ranks of local Charlottesville basketball leagues. His dad coached him until 6th grade, when he started playing for the AAU travel team, and then in high school for the Albemarle Patriots. “Basketball taught me that if you want to be good at something, you have to work hard at it. And, if you’re undersized, slow, can’t jump, and not as quick, like I was, you have to work even harder,” Collins said. His hard work paid off and he became known as a jack-of-all-trades player. “I wasn’t the best shooter, but I was good. I wasn’t the best rebounder, but I was good. I wasn’t the best defensive player, but I was good.” When asked to pick which UVa Basketball player he was most like during his playing days, he doesn’t hesitate. “Marial Shayok – last [2015-2016] season.” During that season, Shayok’s role was a solid, steady one. He got a regular amount of playing time and was known for coming off of the bench and giving his team the lift that they needed. His energy and playing style were both palpable on the court. The Shayok/Collins comparison is an obvious one.
For anyone who knows 2017 Chris Collins, it’s hard to imagine him as an underdog in anything fitness related. His classes, Athletic Conditioning and Afterburn, are consistently packed and attract a die-hard fitness crowd who are looking to be pushed to their physical limits. “Group exercise classes are special,” he said. “The POWER of the group motivates everyone – myself included – to push themselves to be at their best.”
Despite his busy schedule during basketball season, Chris Collins wouldn’t have it any other way. Coaching allows him to stay part of the game he loves so much and has given him the opportunity to mentor his young players and form relationships with the players and their families – which he says is his favorite part. “As a coach, winning and losing matters. But, more importantly, I hope I can be a positive role model for these boys and show them that putting in the time, putting in the effort, and being the best you can be pays off.”
Written by Molly Rossberg
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