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Off The Bench – Spring 2018

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Shannon Kennedy of St. Clair comes from a basketball upbringing (Courtesy of the OCAA)

Destined to play ball

BY: SHANNON KENNEDY

Basketball was almost destined to be a big part of my life. My dad played competitively growing up and eventually in Europe. My mom also played. So, having two parents that already loved the game; it was very easy for my brothers and I to get involved. I started playing basketball when I was six years old in the Riverside small ball program which kick-started my love for the game. In grade three, I started playing for the Windsor Valiants travel program. My coaches and teammates throughout my 10 years in that program are one of the reasons I was able to compete and succeed at the college level.

My decision to go to St. Clair College was fairly easy. I’m a homebody. So, I didn’t really want to go away and Andy Kiss, who is a good family friend, had just got the head coaching job. Although that made the transition easier, I did have to take on a pretty big role right away. Coach Kiss had me starting in my rookie year. He’s always told me that I have a very high basketball IQ. So, with that and the help of my veteran teammates, I took on that role and maintained it throughout my five-year career. In my rookie year our team battled all year and were the winners of the OCAA bronze medal. That’s definitely a game and season I will never forget. My team also helped me in achieving overall Rookie of the Year and All-Star recognition.

Come my second year, I had the privilege of being named team captain, a title I’ve kept for my final four years. That was a whole other role I now had to assume. Thankfully, I had some role models in my first year and enough leadership skills to take this on and be successful. That year my team and coaches helped me achieve the OCAA Player of the Year and named All-Canadian.

Year three was a big year because I was creeping in on my school’s all-time scoring record. The coaches and my teammates were so supportive and with their help I was able to break that record and extend it in my final two years.

Now in my second program at St. Clair, after graduating from early childhood education and beginning educational support, fourth year arrived really fast. Our team was competitive this year but unfortunately fell short. This year I got the award I like to say my mom is most proud of, which is Academic All-Canadian. Both of my parents are very proud of anything I do or achieve, but mom especially likes the academic successes.

Now into my third program, Autism Behavioural Sciences and my fifth and final year. I couldn’t believe that it was already here and this was going to be my last lap. With a very young team composed of eight rookies, I wanted to be a role model for them and help make it one of the best years by making our way to the podium. This year, another record was approaching. The OCAA all-time scoring record. Coach told me about it early on, but I said I didn’t want to know what I was at or how close I was. My coach always says, “with team success comes individual success.” And that’s exactly what happened. Second semester started and I’m getting closer and closer. We go to Humber College on Feb. 17 and I need just three more points. About four minutes into the game, my teammates worked the ball around, found me open on the three and I knocked it down. That was such a great feeling! One of the many unforgettable moments from my final year. We ended up winning the consolation championship in overtime against the George Brown Huskies at provincials this year. It’s always nice to finish a season and a career with a victory.

I am beyond happy with my decision to play for the OCAA at St. Clair College. I walk away from this now with a countless number of relationships across the province, pride in my achievements and most of all, friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

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