March 16, 2023
Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine. It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.
Year of Eligibility -
Program of Study -
How did you first get involved in your sport?
I started playing basketball in grade six after transferring to a new elementary school. I had no idea how to play basketball, but I enjoyed running. The coach of the girls basketball team was my gym teacher at the time.
What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level?
Throughout my elementary and high school years, I continued to grow as a player on and off the court. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn't able to play in my senior year. I wasn’t ready to stop playing just yet, and I felt like I still had so much more to prove. This encouraged me to continue to pursue basketball at the highest academic level.
Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level, and if so, what was it?
Throughout high school, I would often put myself in challenging and uncomfortable positions to continue to grow as a player. This meant competing against the strongest, fastest, and most skilled players in the Greater Toronto Area. I truly believed that I was ready to compete in the OUA when I was able to hold my ground and compete when I played against male basketball players.
What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far?
I really enjoy any team road trip. Any chance to be in a new environment and explore a new city together is a lot of fun.
Is there someone who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport at this high level (i.e., coach, professional athlete, family member, etc.) and what makes them an inspiration to you?
My parents are my biggest inspirations. I am extremely grateful for how much time and effort they have invested in me. From day one, they have showed nothing but support and encouragement. I am proud to be able to say that I represent my family name at the collegiate level.
What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?
With each year, I am excited to build new relationships with people in the OUA, including players, coaches, and staff. I am also excited to make new memories with my teammates and share many special moments.
What is/are some of the more unique aspect(s) of your sport that others may not know about?
The sport of basketball was created and founded by James Naismith, a Canadian college instructor.
If someone else was looking to start playing your sport, what one piece of advice would you give them to get them started?
If I could give them one piece of advice, it would be to find a friend that also wants to play basketball and practice together. As much as I enjoy practicing alone, basketball is much more fun when you have someone else to play with.
What is one critical thing that you do to try to continue to experience improvement within your sport (i.e., specific drill/exercise, training regimen, routine, etc.)?
If there’s one thing that I continue to do to improve my craft, it’s getting in the weight room. As I’ve moved on to the collegiate level, I have learned that your physical strength is just as important as your skill set. If you are not physically strong, it's hard to be successful on the court. Weight training not only helps to build physical strength, but it also helps to prevent injury, build endurance, and improve your overall health.
What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?
If I could say one thing to my 10-year-old self, it would be to never doubt yourself. There will be times that you want to give up or quit, but you will learn that this journey is never a straight path. You will face challenges and be put in many uncomfortable positions. Stay strong and true to who you are.
Is there one strategy that you find works well for you in creating a positive student/athlete balance in your life?
Schedules!!!! As a student-athlete, I’ve learned that organization is the key to a balanced life. I use different types of planners that help me organize my class times, basketball practices/games, and studying time. Once I set aside enough time for these, I am able to allocate time to socializing with friends and family.
Head to the SWSCD Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.
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Have a sport, recreation or physical activity accomplishment you'd like to celebrate and shout out through SWSCD? Become a SWSCD member and share your story directly on SeeWhatSheCanDo. Or, simply add the hashtag #seewhatshecando to your public social media posts and SWSCD can help you inspire others around you.
Blog by Caroline Wiley. Caroline bridged her 20+ years of professional experience in the sport and recreation industry together with her passions for photography and supporting women in sport to create SeeWhatSheCanDo. Her vision is to create a welcoming space where active women find a sense of belonging within their own local community, see themselves in authentic and awe-inspiring ways and find resources to help them be their best active selves.
Photos courtesy of Ontario University Athletics and SeeWhatSheCanDo unless otherwise indicated.
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