Families who play together stay together

Garret (far left), Ryan (far right) and Emily Dickson (middle right) are all part of the St. Thomas University volleyball program along with their cousin Andrea Bell (middle left). (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

For most people, the thought of living with their younger brother, while also taking the same university classes and playing with him on the same volleyball team would be cause for disaster. But for Ryan and Garret Dickson, it’s easy.

“We’re hard on each other at times. If I see Garret do something wrong, I’m going to tell him and he does the same with me,” Ryan said.

“He doesn’t always like it and I don’t always like it, but I think it makes us better.”

Growing up, the brothers didn’t play on the same sports teams. It wasn’t until Garret came to St. Thomas University in 2017 and joined the volleyball team that they finally got to play together. For them, it feels like they’ve been on the same team since they were kids. The brothers remember playing basketball together in their driveway growing up.

“I feel like I’ve been playing with him my whole life even though I haven’t been,” said Garret.

Andrea Bell transferred to St. Thomas University from Mount Allison University after her first year. (Shannon Cornelius/AQ)

Ryan joined the STU men’s volleyball team after transferring from the University of New Brunswick mid-way through his first year. Garret and their younger sister Emily followed suit. Emily was recruited by the STU women’s volleyball team.

“I just came because the boys were here and it felt like home,” she said.

“I was going to go other places and I talked to other coaches but at the end of the day, this would be home.”

Emily plays volleyball along with her cousin Andrea Bell who transferred to STU in 2018 after playing hockey for a year at Mount Allison University, but she decided she wanted to come to a smaller university.

Playing together has brought all four of the family members closer together. (Shannon Cornelius/AQ)

“I didn’t really enjoy hockey at the high level and I thought I should try volleyball instead,” said Bell.

Playing together as a family has made them closer. Their whole family will drive from Miramichi to watch the four of them play. Ryan said he purposely is taking a class with his sister.

“I made sure I took an intro course this year, so [Emily and I] are taking intro to [criminology] together this year,” said Ryan.

“And I have a class with Garret too, so that’s cool. You kind of learn about a new side of your siblings.”

Ryan said watching his brother succeed is one of the best parts of playing together.

“It gets me pumped up when I see Garret get a huge block or a huge kill.”