There is a competitiveness that drives Michael Babcock. Always has, likely always will.
It doesn't seem to matter whether the Lasalle Lancers' senior is stepping on to the court as the setter and floor general of the volleyball team,
or whether he's dictating the tempo as point guard and captain of the basketball crew.
Turns out this inner drive has been present, from a very early age, even in sporting pastimes that didn't really turn his crank.
"I was about seven years old and started out with soccer," he recalled recently. "Most kids seem to start out with soccer. I realized that I was an
athletic kind of a guy. I didn't love soccer, but I loved competing."
By the time he reached grade four at Northeastern Public Elementary School in Garson, Babcock had found a direction for his need to compete. "I
started then with basketball, and I didn't want to play anything else," he said.
"I loved basketball and decided I wanted to be a basketball player." His metamorphosis into a dual-sport threat would come courtesy of a strong bond with
a teacher who has influenced many a local athlete over the years.
"By the time I got to seventh grade, Mr B (Dale Beausoleil) said you're playing volleyball," Babcock noted with a laugh. "Mr B is excellent. He's
a little different though. He's able to twist a lot of volleyball philosophies into basketball, and he loves kids that are gym rats."
And that Babcock was, spending hours on end alongside the twins (Brennan and Liam LaPierre), as well as teammates Aiden Lewis and
Nathan Scully. It was the LaPierre's who first introduced Babcock to the club basketball scene and coach John Desormeaux.
"I've been working with him since I was 13 or 14 - he had a huge impact on my basketball," said Babcock. "John is the ultimate competitor. I love guys
that are super competitive. He pushes me. I loved playing for him. He's got a fire in him like he's a player."
If his time at Lasalle has been synonymous with success for Babcock in both volleyball and basketball, it's also represented the struggle in trying to
decide which option might provide the best path at the post-secondary level.
"We saw more success in grade nine with volleyball, so I was thinking maybe I should gear myself towards that. Then we started getting in the gym in
basketball and we started killing it in both, so I can't choose between the two. I love them both."
That might be true, but when push comes to shove, his inner-passion rises to the surface. "I think I have more of a future in basketball," he said. "My
basketball IQ is higher than my volleyball IQ. Good coaches will say that it's great to get different opinions from people with a good basketball IQ."
"I like to form my own view of the game, through different people's perspectives."
Regardless of the differences, there are also obvious commonalities between the roles that Babcock fulfills with both of his high-school sporting
pursuits. "The biggest tie between the two of them is the ability to not only keep up with the pace of the game, but to be able to control the game, staying
calm," he said.
"I volleyball, it's a game of runs. You've got to be able to find the hot hand, control the game, and make smart decisions." All of which he does, and
does well, and enjoys - just with not exactly the same level of fulfilment he garners from basketball.
"I just love everything about the game of basketball. Everything, to me, is just like fine artwork - the footwork, finishing around the basket, your
shooting - everything is refined. You can't completely perfect basketball, and that's what I think I love about it. You need to be in the gym, all the time,
working on your craft."
For Babcock, this holds truer than most. "I'm not overly tall, I'm not overly athletic," he stated. "I have very good court vision, that's where I think
I am at my strongest. But I don't have the ability to play above the rim like some guys."
With mere months remaining until his time at Lasalle will come to an end, Babcock remains mired in the decision making process. "College ball (OCAA)
is the goal, that would be a dream come true," he said. "Any place that would give me a fair chance to play."
From there, Michael Babcock is more than willing to let his competitiveness take over.