If you go for a walk around Vancouver, chances are you’ll pass dozens of faces that you won’t recognize.
Some faces stare at the ground as they walk past you. Others give a small smirk or nod in your direction. There are happy faces and sad faces; faces covered in wrinkles and others speckled with freckles; and some faces, though they’ve witnessed heartache and pain, still hold on to hope.
Just like Jamie Keast.
Jamie has become one of the faces of the No Regrets Basketball Tournament, being held this weekend in her hometown of North Vancouver. The tournament is in its 25th year, but for the past three years, Jamie and the Quinn Keast Foundation have taken over in hopes of spreading a to the basketball community.
“Aside from basketball, the main thing we want to spread is the message of having no regrets,” said Jamie. “Even if you’re not a basketball player, it’s still good to talk about those types of things since life can be taken at any moment. It really is too short.”
Of course, Jamie has experienced first hand how short life truly can be. Her twin brother, Quinn Keast, died 11 years ago during their high school graduation party after being struck by a bus. He was only 18.
Both Jamie and Quinn attended Handsworth Secondary School. Quinn was the Royals senior boys basketball team captain and had just won his first provincial championship.
Basketball was more than just a sport to both siblings; it was, and still is, a way of life.
“When we were in Grade 10 or 11, my dad made us these posters for our rooms. Mine had something to do with shooting three-point shots and his said, ‘No Regrets’ on it. Quinn used to write it in his basketball journal, too. It was something that he wrote quite a bit about, to have no regrets, especially in his Grade 12 year. And so that’s where the phrase came into play.”
The phrase has become the slogan for the tournament, with bracelets, t-shirts, and other swag covered in the same words that meant so much to Quinn.
A phrase that Jamie, too, lives by each day in honour of her brother.
“I just want him to know that he’s changed my life for the better and even though he’s not here – I’d obviously give anything to change that – he left a legacy that’s made it easy to continue on without him.”
Jamie attends the No Regrets Tournament each year and shares her brother’s story with the young basketball players who have hopes of taking home the gold, just like Quinn did. Like any young athlete Quinn strived to be the best, not only for himself, but also for his team.
“He was intensely into the sport,” said Jamie. “He’d be out in our driveway playing basketball at all hours of the night, which led to complaints from neighbours. They made a deal with him that he could only play until 9:30 at night because the bounce of the basketball drove them all crazy.”
Quinn kept a basketball journal for most of his Grade 11 and 12 years – each page dedicated to living a full life with no regrets. He wrote about his goals as an athlete and it was clear through his writing that whatever he set out to do, he did.
He was even named Most Valuable Player in the 2006 B.C. High School Basketball Championship.
“There was a moment after they won the championship, we all went down to the floor and Quinn was being interviewed by a reporter. I was standing with him and they turned to me and asked if I was proud of my brother. I said, ‘Of course, this is my proudest moment of him’”.
Quinn would be so proud of Jamie, too.
She has courageously taken the same basketball tournament under her wings and in turn, has kept Quinn’s legacy alive not only through basketball, but through every person who has been touched by his story.
Quinn Keast Project V2 from TMW on Vimeo.
“He made this all so easy for me – it’s so easy to be proud of him and so easy to carry this on for him,” said Jamie. “Not everyone can say that about their siblings and what they’ve accomplished in 18 years. I’m thankful for that.”
Jamie reflects on the tournament each year and is grateful for those who have shared their team’s stories with her. Coaches have used her message to motivate their players right before a game, and that’s something that has stuck with her, especially during the tough moments.
“The tournament can be very difficult to go through every year and I wish I didn’t have to because I’d rather change that circumstance and have Quinn here instead.”
Through the heartache each year, Jamie persists and brings hope to young athletes, as well. Thanks to the Quinn Keast Foundation, two players – one girl and one boy – will receive a scholarship at the No Regrets Tournament.
“We started the foundation 11 years ago, which provides the scholarships,” Jamie said. “The tournament allows for us to connect with the upcoming youth and spread this message to the basketball community. I think it allows everyone to pay tribute to the person that he was and we’re still able to stay involved in the basketball community.”
Prior to Jamie taking over the tournament, only boys were able to compete. Thanks to her efforts, eight girl’s teams are able to go for the gold, too.
Losing someone is never easy. Rather than dwell on the loss of her brother, Jamie has brought happiness and courage to so many young athletes. By sharing his story, Jamie has motivated thousands of people to live a fuller life.
A life with no regrets.
“I’m immensely proud of what he did and continue to be every day; I love him more than he’ll ever know.”
No Regrets Tournament 2017 Website: http://www.noregretsbball.com
For more information on the Quinn Keast Foundation, please visit www.quinnbasketball.net
Written by: Crystal Scuor