I grew up on Quadra Island BC, and started playing sports at a very young age, Soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, you name it, I wanted to play. I even received the athletic excellence award when I was graduating Elementary school. I still have the medal. It was so important to me that I was good at everything. When my Mom decided to move to Vancouver to go back to school, I was shipped up to Port Hardy to live with my Dad. To my dismay I found that although this town was a bit bigger than my smaller island roots, they did not have access to the same sports facilities or the same interest in organized sports. There was no girls softball, only recreational co-ed. I was intimidated by the thought of playing sports with boys, so I stuck with school sports, and committed to playing volleyball. I was pretty good. I was tall for my age (i’ve been 5’5 since I was 12, haven’t grown an inch since though) and I could swing my arm and whack a ball pretty well. I loved the sport, the team dynamic, and the friends I was starting to make through the team. However when my Mom finished school I decided I was ready to try out the big city, and thought I might have a better opportunity playing sports at a bigger city school instead of small town Port Hardy. Unfortunately I was a very little fish in a very big pond, the net height went up and I didn’t. I wasn’t good enough to make any of the teams that year. After winning provincials the year before this was a pretty big blow to my ego. I really struggled after that, going back and fourth between 3 different high schools, never really feeling like I could fit in or find my groove again. I made the teams after that but I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there. I didn’t even try out my senior year. I got depressed, I gained a lot of weight, and I didn’t have any idea of how to fix it. Competitive sport was a huge part of my identity and I had lost it, and myself.
It wasn’t until on a whim when I was living in Calgary as a young adult I decided to volunteer to help assistant coach a U14 club volleyball team. I figured, that was where my skill peeked, so I could only help up to that level. I loved it so much, being involved in sport again, helping young girls develop their skills. We took a club B team and won provincials, I was so proud! (I kept that medal too!) There was something very special about being involved in sport again. It wasn’t just for health reasons but the sense of community that team sport provides was something I was really missing in my life. However I also really missed living on the Island, and wanted to be closer to my family. I moved just a little too late for volleyball season, so I figured I needed to find something else to stay active until the next season started. This is when I was first introduced to dodgeball.
I hadn’t played dodgeball since i was a kid. I didn’t realize there were adult leagues that played on a regular basis. I didn’t have to just be involved as a coach anymore, I got to play again! There was something so amazing about dodgeball as a sport. It was so inclusive for different body types, bigger people being able to put their weight and strength behind their throws, and smaller people being harder to hit and generally more agile. We didn’t use the scary big rubber balls like in high school or in the movie. It was a smaller foam ball with a vinyl shell, that didn’t hurt even when someone had thrown it their hardest. Again I was so lucky, I hadn’t just found a sport that I loved, and that I wasn’t terrible at, I had found what I had always been searching for, that sense of community. Most of my closest friends I have made from the dodgeball community in the last 9 years and i’m so grateful for that. I can’t imagine how different things might have been for me if I had had access to a sport like this at a younger age. Giving kids another alternative sport where they don’t have to be the tallest, or the fastest, they don’t have to be good at everything. They can still play and have fun and be part of something, maybe even make it to a provincial team one day. This is why being a KidSport ambassador is such an amazing opportunity for me, and something I really want to focus on for the future of dodgeball. Not just because its a sport that I love so much, but because its a sport that I think could really help to give a lot of kids the opportunity of a second chance, just like I had.