The Heart and Mind of Champions

Being a student athlete isn’t easy. It requires a sort of balance in our lives that isn’t always easy to uphold, as on top of our involvement in athletics we need to keep our grades up, remain actively involved in community service and creativity, spend time with our families, and maintain our relationships while still finding time for ourselves. Although that in and of itself is a challenge, the biggest one of all was having to constantly prove that we can do all those things at the caliber that is expected from all other students, while still being considered successful and hardworking athletes. Additionally, we had to deal with the underlying doubt coming from peers and mentors alike, that we wouldn’t successfully pass through the qualifying rounds.

This skepticism was something that we took in stride and used to motivate us during our 6:00 AM practices every Friday, our extra 2 hours of training every Saturday, and during our other physically and emotionally trying practices. In the middle of all this, our coaches Ms. Hora and Ms. Serban were there to remind us of our end goal: to make sure that all our hard work throughout the season payed off, and to prove that we are a winning team not because of our final standings, but because of how we play and push each other to do better.

The stereotype that girls’ teams have a lot of pettiness and drama associated with them was something that we worked to not be a part of, and we did that by creating an environment where we could be honest with each other while still respecting each other’s boundaries, and in the end, it was something that we never saw in our team. The open communication was something that ended up bringing us closer in a way that none of us expected, and it certainly was a quality that came through in the way that we played at the CEESA tournament.

Although half of our team was injured at the tournament, we exceeded all expectations with our well-deserved second place trophy. We gritted our teeth, fought hard, and put literal blood, sweat, and tears into all our games. Each match presented us with a new challenge, and the fact that we as a team trusted each other on the court instead of putting all our expectations on one person is one of the main reasons for our success throughout the tournament. While there we understood that each of us has a role in the victory of the team, and that’s what set us apart- we acted as a winning team without needing a first-place trophy to prove that we are champions.

I am proud of my team and the passion that all of us displayed every game and practice. Knowing the extent of our hard work and commitment to the team only makes all of us excited for what the next year will bring, and we are eager to welcome the young players that are moving up to high school. Thank you, girls, for making this basketball season one that I’ll certainly never forget!

Giorgia P., Team Captain, Grade 11

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