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Basketball diaries of provincials

Hallie Miller from the Mount Baker Wild girl’s basketball team captures her experience at provincials

Hallie Miller from the Mount Baker Wild senior girl’s basketball team captured her experience at the 2019 B.C. Secondary School Girls AAA Basketball Championships

Provincials Day 1

The plane was small. So was the airport. And I must admit, I felt pretty small too, thousands of feet in the air, looking down to the ground we call home.

I couldn’t hear much of anything, but I didn’t need to. I was too busy wondering what it would feel like to free-fall thousands of feet from the ground. I feel like it would be both intoxicating and terrifying all at once, the feeling of weightlessness and then the tug of gravity.

There was no snow at all when we landed in Vancouver. Soon we were piling into rental vans and rushing down the highway to our new “house”, the place we will be living for the next week.

We arrived, and everyone was hurrying to get ready for the banquet.

This is my first year attending provincials, so I don’t really know the traditions or understand the importance of the banquet. The banquet is a first-impression type gathering where the organizers of provincials hand out awards and free food and welcome all the teams to the tournament and introduce the competition.

It reminded me of a group of animals trying to show off to impress and intimidate each other. All in all, not a bad way to start off a week of basketball.

Provincials Day 2

There is something incredibly exciting about jumping up and down on a suspension bridge, dangling over a freezing river, moving with the weight of eleven other teenaged girls and two grown adults.

There is something very awakening about waddling barefoot into the same freezing river you were just jumping over. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a forest, ancient as time and covered in moss and icicles, looking like something straight out of a fairy tale.

We played our first game of provincials today. We lost to the Kelowna Owls 94-46 and we didn’t play our best, but our teams pretty good at regrouping. It wasn’t our best game, but we will pull together tomorrow. We leave the past in the past. Our coach said to us before the game, “We live in a beautiful world. No matter what the outcome of this game is, nothing will change that.”

Provincials Day 3

One of the best things about being here at provincials is all the things we do as a team. There is never a dull moment, never a time when we aren’t doing something as a team. Today was go karting.

Our hands were freezing as we gripped our steering wheels, urging the tiny karts faster and faster.

We weren’t supposed to bump into anything, but we did anyway. It was pretty hard not to.

After go karts, we went to a small mall. It wouldn’t be a proper tournament without the food court and the hourly trek through outlet store after outlet store, trying on clothing we have no intention of buying.

When we played our second game today, we played like a team and won against Nanaimo District 69-54. Our goal is to win the next two games as well, so we can say we lost the same amount of games that the second place team did; only one.

Provincials Day 4

We lost again but to Abbotsford Senior 91-74, but the best part about our team is that once we leave the change room, it just becomes a basketball game. It doesn’t seem to matter if we won or lost, we always have fun afterward. If it has taught me anything, it’s how to let things go.

Vancouver City is pretty breathtaking at night. The team drove to Stanley Park, where we could look across the water at all the buildings. The way the city lights bounced off the water was really beautiful, and we even went to an old stone lighthouse.

It was a cold night but I didn’t really feel it. After our picture taking/city-scape viewing adventure, we took a daring drive through a section of Vancouver called East Hastings. It’s a section of the city where there is poverty, and there’s a lot of homelessness. It was shocking to see all the people that lived there, some in tents, some on nothing more than a piece of cardboard.

It was crazy to see the poverty and desperation, but it was also crazy to see the blocks surrounding Hastings, where everything looked so posh and normal.

Sometimes it seems like we just pretend not to see the bad things in the world. We pretend that if we don’t notice it, it will go away.

The final day

The day started off with a brisk walk around our neighbourhood. It feels strange to call this little corner of Surrey our home when we’ve lived here for less than a week, but it’s felt like forever.

We won our last game of provincials 2019 against R.A. McMath 60-58. It was hard fought, and, as some on the team like to say, we were just making it exciting for the crowd. We were up by 20 at halftime and ended the game winning by only two points.

Before we played, our coach said to us, “Win or lose girls, this is it. After this, it’s over, so let’s put everything we have out there.”

Win or lose in life, we never know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to be over, or when it’s going to change forever, so we should always give it everything we’ve got.

After the game, we went to the ocean. The wind was cold, but the water was colder. It’s a tradition to run into the freezing water after the last game of provincials. The ocean was much colder than expected, turning our feet to lead and our blood to ice, freezing us from the outside-in.

Only a few of us went all the way under, the rest got side-tracked. Our insides turned to slush as the freezing water clung to our clothes.

After our visit to the frozen ocean, we were off again to explore the Vancouver transportation station.

We took the sky train to Waterfront first. The train was going fast, so teaching one of my teammates to highland dance was a little tricky, but we managed.

We ran to catch the sea bus, but unfortunately, not all of us got on. So we hopped back onto the same bus to ride across with the rest of our team.

This is the last day. It’s been a good week, with tons to see and do, lots of memories made, and pictures were taken. I can’t wait to do it again next year!