Families and players from across Canada are connecting over basketball, and bonding over bballnationals.
When Avery McCarthy first heard about the national tournament, taking place in B.C, she was sad that her club team in Manitoba wasn’t able to attend, but everything changed when she was offered an opportunity to join a new team and travel to the tournament.
“I’m a prairie girl, born and raised, so when this came about, I sort of joked about having some players from Manitoba join our roster to make a joint team,” Big Country Director, Pam Danis, said about the idea she had, “I reached out to the University of Manitoba and SHE put it out to her club kids.”
McCarthy’s father reached out to Danis immediately, recognizing that the family vacation they had planned, to visit family in Ontario, had suddenly turned into a unique opportunity for his daughter to compete at a national tournament.
“I only met the girls a couple weeks ago, when I went to Ontario to practice with them,” McCarthy said of the short training period. What started out as an unusual chance for a girl from Winnipeg to play basketball for an Ontario team has now turned into lifelong friendships, “I’ve met a lot of new friends,” McCarthy said, referring to her new teammates, “I don’t want to say goodbye, it’s going to be really hard.”
The new addition to Big Country’s roster was welcomed with open arms, and Danis is really proud of how her team included McCarthy.
“From the beginning, when we first met her in July, the girls just fully embraced her and took her in, and of course now with social media, they are able to keep in touch and connect with her in Manitoba,” Danis said of the whole thing.
It’s not just the players that are coming together, the parents of Big Country’s U13 team are also banning together to support their daughters from back home in Ontario.
“My mom and dad called everyone on the team, invited them over, so they’ve been watching all our games together” Kara Lowell said of the get-together her parents panned. Parents came from Waterloo and Guelph, with some making the 45-minute trip from Toronto, to Kara’s family home in Kitchener, ON.
Danis thinks the viewing party is great as most girls in southern Ontario are accustomed to travelling with their families, “most of them are used to their parents being part of their basketball experience,” she said of the teams’ norm, “so with us being across the country they’re not able to physically be together, so its great to have the live stream so everyone can still be apart of the action.”
Dacia Chin’s family is participating in the viewing party, “I talk to them before and after games,” she said, “they tell me things I can work on and congratulate me—but they’re really positive.”
Athletes owe a lot of their success to their families and the investment they make, Chin, as a U13 player, already understands this, “they are really supportive, they take me to my practices and pay for me to play. They take me to tournaments in different places—we just went to Detroit, they play a big part in it.”
Sport brings people together, and Big Country’s new teammate, and parent viewing party are perfect examples of that.
“I love the family that basketball creates, Lowell said of her experience with the sport, “it brings everyone together all in one space.” bballnationals is doing just that, by connecting teams, players, and parents from across the country through basketball.
Written By: Sarah Reid