Denver Sparks-Guest // Columnist
For the past two years, I have played as a member of the Capilano Blues basketball team. Now, having used all five years of my eligibility of collegiate sports, I am forced to spend my final year at CapU completing my degree in Communication Studies while watching from the sidelines, and reflecting on my experience as a Blues student-athlete. To start off, I need to preface my experiences by providing some background on my journey to becoming a member of the Capilano Blues. I graduated from Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam in 2014 and spent my first two seasons of university basketball as a member of the Simon Fraser University Clan. After two seasons with SFU and a third new coach being hired upon my third season, I chose to transfer to the University of the Fraser Valley to play for the Cascades in Abbotsford. While I enjoyed my third season, I still felt as if I hadn’t found the right fit for myself, and I began evaluating what I wanted to get out of the remainder of my collegiate basketball career. I eventually decided to leave the University of the Fraser Valley after that season ended and after getting in contact with one of my under-16 provincial team coaches–Cassidy Kannemeyer. Cassidy had always shown genuine interest in my wellbeing throughout my playing years and was always a huge supporter of mine. So, when the opportunity for me to transfer schools and come play for him at Capilano presented itself, I jumped at the chance to take him up on his offer, and join forces once again on the court.
It was an interesting dynamic to be joining the Capilano Blues program as a transfer heading into my fourth year of eligibility when most of the new athletes at the school were 17 and 18 years old, just starting out their first year of university. One of my best friends from high school and former teammates, Brenden Bailey was also a member of the Blues team, so I already had a friend to lean on in my new home before I started. I felt as if it was a smooth transition for me to becoming acclimated as a member of the Blues family. I was new to the school, but familiar with the way things go in college sports so there wasn’t much unfamiliarity with the transition to CapU other than the people on my team and the home court.
I’m grateful for my two years as a member of the Capilano Blues basketball team, where I was instilled with many life-long memories and friendships which are foundational pieces of the person I am today. What many people don’t realize about university sports is the amount of time and focus necessary in order to be successful. Everyone in college basketball is a good player and they are there for a reason. It is the small adjustments and varying levels of commitment that is what separates the competition. I was lucky enough to reach a point in my career where I held a leadership role on my team. As one of the oldest guys there, I had to really hold myself accountable and begin to actively face and conquer the weaknesses in my game. This new perspective on basketball allowed me to play with more confidence and focus which quickly translated to an increase in my performance level, not only on the court, but in other aspects of my life. I found it easier to get up for early morning classes and workouts, and the fifteen hour days at school became a little less tormenting. In my second and final season at Capilano I was fortunate enough to be named one of ten All-Canadian’s for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association. While I was not able to help Capilano capture an illustrious provincial or national championship, I was able to finish my career with an accolade that at least acknowledges some of my hard work put in along the way. Capilano gave me an opportunity to be a part of a program where I truly felt appreciated and supported which helped push and motivate me to become the best basketball player I could be. I am extremely happy and grateful for where I am in basketball and life today which continually prompts me to wonder how my basketball career would have panned out if I never transferred to Capilano. I guess we will never know.