For junior opposite Ben Plaisted, his talents extend far beyond the white lines of the volleyball court.
You may remember Plaisted as one half of the rap duo behind “Rambler Wings” and “Ramblers on the Road,” but there is much more to this athlete than his illustrious YouTube career.
When Plaisted isn’t at practice or playing volleyball, you can find him at a local open mics at Uncommon Ground, Engrained Cafe and farmer markets, playing guitar and belting out Bruce Springsteen, A Tribe Called Quest and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Plaisted said his father, Jim, was also instrumental in encouraging Ben to pursue music and volleyball. Jim started a volleyball club in Wisconsin and Ben said watching his dad coach really made him want to play the sport.
Unlike most Midwestern men’s volleyball players, who start playing in high school, Plaisted began playing around 11 years old.
But Plaisted said playing music is one of his outlets to express himself.
“Playing music has always been a great stress reliever for me,” said Plaisted. “So whenever the stresses of school and volleyball seem to be catching up with me, I always find peace in going home and playing guitar for an hour or two.”
Music career aside, Plaisted plays a crucial role on the Loyola men’s volleyball team with his intense presence and motivational demeanor. He is averaging 2.67 kills per set with his 112 kills on the season. On the back line, Plaisted has 71 digs this season and averages a team-high 1.69 digs per set.
Head coach Mark Hulse said Plaisted’s adaptability on the court has made him a team player.
“He can be a guy we send a ton of balls to or he can be a guy who serves and plays some defence and blocks balls,” said Hulse. “He can be kind of whatever [player] you want him to be.”
Fellow junior teammate Jeff Jendryk agreed with Hulse on Plaisted’s versatility and added that he holds a key leadership position within the team.
“He’s a big fire up player,” Jendryk said. “When we’re down he’ll bring some energy and just fire us all up. He’s definitely a big impact player.”
Plaisted credited his athletic accomplishments not only to his own hard work and dedication to the grind, but also to his coaching staff and teammates who’ve helped him along his journey.
Plaisted said his leadership role has changed throughout his past three seasons in Chicago.
“You try to lead as much as you can whether you’re a young guy or older guy,” he said. “Now that you have more guys looking to you, you know we had more guys to look up to last year, but now we’re the guys that have to set that example.”
Although a professional volleyball career is not out of the question, Plaisted, a film and digital marketing double major, said he has other talents he’s looking to pursue.
“I would love to get into film production, whether it be my own ideas or helping to portray someone else’s,” he said. “I also would love to study music more in depth through more schooling or on my own.”
The men’s volleyball team (9-4, 5-1) is scheduled to host crosstown rival Lewis University on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.