Welcome back to the In Their Shoes Project Blog. Chapter Two starts today and you should expect something completely different from last year.
My intention as it has always been with this project is to engage with, understand and tell the story of a group of our students. To tell the story of what they experience, by having as much of that experience with them as possible and to tell their individual stories through interviews and profiles.
In the 2014/2015 academic year I joined the 4th year class in the School of Fashion as they completed their capstone projects. You can find an archive of Chapter One by selecting “previous chapters” from the top menu. If you are new to the In Their Shoes Project and wonder why I am doing this you will find the explanation here.
Now I am moving on the Chapter Two. Here is a little teaser of what I have gotten myself into (please be patient while the video loads…if you are not impressed with the quality…I don’t blame you…I made it myself).
Yes, for the 2015/2016 academic year I will be joining the Ryerson Rams Women’s Varsity basketball team. Obviously I will not actually play basketball in any games…for two reasons. First, I am not eligible to play, according to the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) and the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) rules for student eligibility. Second and more importantly, I am absolutely not capable. I don’t know how to play basketball. In this way Chapter Two of The In Their Shoes Project will be very different from Chapter One. Last year I was doing things that I knew how to do, had the necessary skills to do, and had confidence that I could do. This year is a completely different story. This is completely outside my comfort zone.
I am not an athlete. I have never been an athlete. This is somewhat surprising given my family of origin. Let me tell you about them. My younger sister played high school basketball, volleyball and badminton. My older sister played high school volleyball and badminton. She played softball recreationally for many years and still plays tennis and golf today. My Mom was on the women’s basketball team at the University of Guelph in the 1950’s and was Sports Editor for the student newspaper. She was a high school teacher and coached high school basketball her entire teaching career. My father was a high school teacher as well – he coached t-ball when my brother was young and at his high school coached the curling team. My brother was athlete of the year at his high school all 4 years – he played basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey and football. For two years he was on the Canadian National Junior Baseball team. Growing up his room was littered with trophies and ribbons and his enormous baseball hat collection. And then there was me.
I was involved in theatre, sewed all my own clothes, went to a lot of movies, worked part time in a retail store, etc. I played no sports. I did not take a Physical Education class after grade 9 (when it was required). So I think you can see why this is so far outside my comfort zone. I have been working out with Patrick Williams, Fitness Specialist in the Ryerson Athletic Centre regularly to try and ensure that I can keep pace and do not hurt myself. Having said that the extent to which a 53 year old non-athlete can keep pace with young high performance athletes is probably pretty obvious to everyone reading this – but I am up for an adventure anyway.
The plan is to try and keep a similar schedule as the women on the team with respect to practices and workouts, to attend all team meetings, to sit on the bench at all games, to travel on the bus to away games etc. and tell you all about what I am doing and learning along with them and about them.
Tonight I will join the team for the beginning of a mini training camp that lasts throughout the weekend as they prep for their first exhibition game of the season on Monday night against Central Michigan University. Go Rams!
I hope this year to better understand the lifestyle, commitment and experience of our student athletes and I hope to share that understanding with the larger community through this blog.
If you are a praying person, pray for me.