Talented SMUS Athlete Represents BC at Canada Winter Games

by Grace Thomas

Competing in the 2015 Canada Winter Games was one of the best experiences of my life.

I started playing squash about five years ago. I had always played a lot of sports – soccer, cross-country, track and field, and competitive swimming – and at that time I had just stopped swimming and was looking for something to fill the many hours I had been spending at the pool. I started played recreational squash, but soon found I really enjoyed it and wanted to play competitively. SMUS-Squash-GraceThomas-SN.jpgEventually I gave up my other sports and committed most of my free time to training and competing in squash.

The process for making the BC Canada Winter Games team took me more than three years. Each year there are requirements to fulfill that included tournament and training camp successes. The BC “squad” started out with eight boys and eight girls. Each year the players with the lowest ranking would get cut from the team. Since I had won provincials and had done well at National events, I had a good chance of making the team. In December 2014, the team was announced with four boys and four girls. I had never represented BC in a multi-sport event before, so this prospect was really exciting for me.

We arrived in Prince George on Saturday, February 21 and started the team event on the Sunday. We were seeded second, so we had fairly easy matches until later on in the week. All of our matches were on a full glass court. On a glass court, you play with a white ball instead of a black ball so it’s easier to see. It was my first time playing on a full glass court so it took a while to get used to. We played Manitoba in the semifinals and won 3-1. We then played Ontario in the finals. With close matches from everyone, we ultimately came in second. Silver medal for Team BC!

Every single match I played was memorable; we met new people every day and invited them to come watch us play. Every game I played, all my teammates came to watch and cheer. Some BC athletes, spectators and volunteers from other sports came to cheer us on, too.

Competing at the Games is much different than regular tournaments. Tournaments are usually three days long, and sometimes four if it’s a national event. Although we do train and travel as a team at SMUS, squash is not normally a team event; squash players compete as individuals. At the Games, we did everything as a team: travel, eat every meal and watch every game. We compete as a team so that each win or loss by an individual team member contributes to the outcome of the team. Also, the level of play was generally higher compared to provincial tournaments. Many kids train for years to make their team for Canada Games.

I met so many new people from different sports at the Games. The nine days I spent in Prince George went by way too quickly. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it.


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