For American teammates Robb Anfinson and Andrew Cordova, sitting volleyball is not just a sport, it’s a brotherhood.
Playing in front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre on Wednesday, the two teammates, alongside the rest of the sitting volleyball team, defeated Team Denmark in straight sets to capture the bronze medal.
Robb was proud of his team’s performance and the overall skill level at the Games.
“There’s another level of competition at the Invictus Games,” he said. “A lot of people here are very competitive and there are lots of skilled players, so it makes for good volleyball.”
Injured in a swimming accident, which fractured his vertebrae, the retired lance corporal, who was an aircraft mechanic in the Marine Corps, began playing sitting volleyball as a form of rehabilitation. He soon discovered that he loved it and found inspiration on the court.
“Each match is different,” said Robb. “It depends on who wants to win more. We need to get on a good run and stay on it. We need to stay positive on each different set with the ball.”
His teammate Andrew, former gunnery sergeant with a 21-year career in the Marine Corps, has undergone 20 surgeries since returning from Iraq with cancer. He entered the Wounded Warrior program and was soon introduced to adaptive sports.
“When you’re on a team, it motivates you to strive and try harder and heal yourself so you can play sports,” said Andrew.
Despite being in the same battalion in the Marine Corps, Andrew and Robb did not meet until they both began playing adaptive sports. They soon realized that they have the same passion for sports, and a close friendship blossomed.
Andrew is happy with his team’s showing in the bronze-medal match, considering they had little opportunity to train prior to the Games.
“Probably less than week [to train together], so it’s great we’re doing so well,” he said. “We’re still working out the kinks.”
Team Georgia took home the gold medal at the event, winning in straight sets over silver medalists Team UK.