In a sea full of dull-coloured jerseys, the pearly white donned by the Douglas College Royals women’s basketball team catches the eye of any beholder. Whether or not you too, show the white and green some love, it’s easy to jump on the Royal bandwagon.
Photo: Douglas College Royals Athletics
And just as we all make our resolutions for the New Year, the Royals have set some goals of their own for the second half of the season that are sure to keep fans cheering in the stands, regardless of what colour jersey they support.
Overcoming challenges that have risen during the first bit of the season—including a plethora of injuries—is one of those goals.
“A lot of unexpected things have happened,” says Coach Steve Beauchamp. “We’ve kind of been hit by the ACL bug.”
Not one, but two big recruits for the Royals caught the bug early on in the season. But the injury bug did not stop there: fellow teammates have also struggled with back issues and shin splints, which has definitely affected the number of healthy players whom make it out to practice. Just like a much-needed resolution, Coach Beauchamp inspires his team to overcome adversity and keep grinding.
“You’re finding different ways to still have an effective practice, but you’re doing it with different methods and things.”
Rather than let a good practice go to waste, Beauchamp says the team has brought in alumni and a previous assistant coach to ensure girls have ample time to prepare for upcoming games– which is especially crucial in a league that exudes competitiveness.
“I mean, it showed in the first third of the season,” says Coach Beauchamp. “You had four teams tied at 4-2. You had another team at 3-3. So there’s a lot of parity in the league.”
This is Coach Beauchamp’s second season with the women’s team; however, this isn’t his first rodeo with the Royals, as he used to coach men’s basketball at Douglas College in the ‘80s. In between, Beauchamp coached at Holy Cross High School for 11 years, winning a AA Provincial championship one year and finishing in the AAA Provincial Championship Final 4 another. His passion for basketball is evident in the way he admires this team.
“Seeing a team from start to finish, kind of where we’re at in the beginning and where we end up by the end of the season, and certainly the ups and downs of a season are always the things that give coaches grey hair,” he says. “But at the same time, it’s great to see the growth. These things are what really makes [coaching] rewarding.”
As the coach of a team in the PacWest league, Beauchamp embraces the amplified competition that comes along with having back-to-back matches, like the upcoming Camosun games this weekend.
“[They’ve] added some really nice players to their team this year and I think they’re certainly somebody that we really have to play our best game to be able to stay with.”
Without disclosing too much of the Royal’s strategy against the Chargers, Coach Beauchamp admits that their team has knowledge of past players. Each team in the PacWest has a slight rivalry for the next, which makes for a very interesting dynamic on the court every weekend, regardless of the matchup.
“The league itself is very competitive. Each weekend is huge. You’ve seen expectations, where in the past you’ll go, ‘Oh these teams are going to win’. The next thing you know, it’s not what you expect.”
There is one thing you can expect from the Royals in the second half of the season. Greatness.
“I’ve got a great group of girls. We’re blessed with six seniors this year, so a lot of experience; a lot of big goals; a lot of commitment,” Says Coach Beauchamp. “All of the right things that, as a coach, you love to have.”
Be sure to catch the first matchup between the Douglas College Royals and the Camosun College Chargers on Friday, January 12th at 6pm and the rebound game on Saturday, January 13th at 1pm – both at the Douglas College New Westminster campus.
Written By: Crystal Scuor