Like everything else in the wacky times in which we live, the process by which the various Team Ontario rosters were selected through the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA) is different than anything we had seen before.
In fact, pretty much every aspect of the Team Ontario experience will be different than it was in 2019.
Still, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School senior Jacob Schweyer is more than happy to be making a return appearance to the provincial squad.
"We didn't have official tryouts," said Schweyer. "They evaluated us at club tournaments."
Suiting up with the Northern Chill 17U Chill Factor for the 2019-2020 campaign, Schweyer recalled being aware of the extra attention that was directed his way, though he staunchly believed the impact on his play to be minimal.
"For me, I think I had a tournament in either January or February, and I saw the evaluator there," said Schweyer. "In that tournament, I played against some of the people that I played with, last summer (on Team Ontario)."
"I don't think it had a major effect on me, just because when I play with people that I know, I feel that I am in my element, in a way," he continued. "I just play my game and really don't focus a whole lot on who is in the stands."
Where his vertical leap in province-wide testing certainly garnered the attention of OVA officials last year at this time - Schweyer recorded the second highest spike approach touch in his age group in Ontario in 2019 - he has really focused on expanding all aspects of his game over the course of this most recent season.
"Last year, my vertical was what really separated me," he said. "But this year, I really tried to work a lot on fundamentals with hitting and blocking, improving my defence and stuff like that. I think overall, it made me a better player, learning to hit different angles and things like that."
Having added perhaps a half inch to his 6'5" frame, Schweyer noted that the quest to self-improvement is never ending. "I think I have made a pretty big step from last year," he said. "Last year was my first year playing club. It really gave me a good idea of what I needed to work on."
"My defence has definitely improved. It's still not as good as you might see from some other players, but it's getting there."
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Schweyer will enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate the gains he has made in any kind of inter-provincial events, as would normally have been the case. On-line workouts and skill specific sessions will have to suffice, with other training opportunities limited only by the scope of his imagination.
"I have been practicing in my garage," he confessed. "My dad set up a hook, where he set up a line and attached it to a tennis ball, similar to the vertical thing to practice jumping. And I'm getting touches, just rallying in the back yard with my younger brother, or older sister, or my dad."
As he looks towards what is expected to be his final year of high-school, Schweyer does so knowing that doors will soon be opening. "For me, it started last summer, you could say. I got a chance to talk to a (university) coach, that was my first time."
"By the end of the summer, a lot more coaches were talking to me. It's really interesting to see all of the programs that they offer, and how they run their volleyball teams."
"I still enjoy talking to the coaches, but I am still trying to get a feel for what I want to do, academically," Schweyer added. "For the time being, I think I am going to worry about where I want to go more in the fall, hopefully, when this all clears up by then."
Trying to add a little normalcy into a world experiencing anything but normal times.