While I am officially retired from my basketball team, I did commit to completing some things for this blog before signing off for the summer. One of those tasks is to complete profiles of each of the team members and I have about five left to do. Today I will tell you about C’airah who is completing a degree in nursing. All of these students are managing full course loads and all the demands of being part of this team. But C’airah particularly amazes me as she is completing one of the most demanding programs at Ryerson.
C’airah or “Ci” as she is known to the team is one of the quiet ones on the team…when we sat down to chat the first thing she said is she isn’t really used to talking about herself. She grew up in Mississauga and started playing basketball in school in grade 4. When she was in grade five, her mom suggested that she tryout for a rep team…she had been around basketball because of trips to the gym with her dad or her brothers. She hadn’t thought about playing on a team before the suggestions from her mom and was both excited and nervous to tryout.
She loved it right away mostly because the other girls she played with were really nice and welcoming. The fact that most of these women grew up playing for their school and in some cases more than one rep team, the kind of practice schedule that they face at university wasn’t so surprising or new to them.
I asked her why she plays basketball. She said that basketball for her is really fun. She loves the game and finds that it actually helps her manage her stress. She has always loved it. Coach Carly had seen her play and contacted her about considering Ryerson…this worked out perfectly because she wanted to study nursing and Ryerson has a nursing program. She was contacted by U of T as well but really felt most more comfortable when she visited the Ryerson campus. In her first year she commuted to school from Mississauga and in her second year she moved downtown because of the early morning practices and early morning placements in her program. She now lives downtown and shares an apartment with teammate Tash.
Ci said that lots of people ask her, as I did, how she manages the workload in a demanding academic program like nursing, and the time commitment of playing a varsity sport. She talked about the importance of time management and acknowledged that it can be very stressful. She said that each year she has had really great faculty advisors who are understanding and supportive of her basketball demands but when it comes down to it school comes first.
The nursing students have required placements in each year of the program. In her first year Ci had a placement in a long term care facility, in second year she had a placement in the hospital, and in third year she had a community placement with an early years centre. Next year she does not know her placement but the clinical hours will be more demanding and greater than the class hours.
I asked her why she decided to study nursing. In grade 11 she took a health care course and was inspired by a really great teacher. That class combined with her interest in helping people created her interest in nursing as a profession. She wasn’t sure what to expect but getting hands on opportunities and ability to interact with patients right in the first year has been a highlight of the program for her. She will find out later in the summer about her placement for the fall…she is hoping to work in a hospital in an
orthopaedic or paediatric unit. She is hoping for a career in one of these two areas – one based on her love of working with kids or the other based on her experience with sports and sport related injuries.
I asked Ci what she has learned playing basketball. She said that it has taught her about time management, organization, and how to handle set backs in life. In high school Ci had some serious injuries playing basketball. In grade 10 she tore her meniscus and in grade 12 she tore her ACL. Due to these injuries she credits playing the sport with making her stronger mentally as well.
Ci will play one more year and then her main hope/dream for the future is really just to launch a successful nursing career. But basketball will never leave her life. She has younger siblings and nieces that she will encourage to play and she may join a recreational women’s league.
When asked what people would be surprised to know about her Ci said was a big gamer and loves videos games, Halo is her favourite game.
C’airah has seen so much change in the women’s basketball program at Ryerson since she came here and clearly has a great deal of pride in having been part of it. She is one of the players who is so quiet and gentle and sweet natured, then heads onto the floor and shows just determination and toughness and strength. The game brings out a competitive, tough, physical presence that defies their quiet gentle nature. Having the opportunity to see the depth of character that these women bring to their lives and commitments at such a young age is inspiring.
I can’t wait to be at games next year cheering Ci on in her last year with the Rams.