Posted on February 5, 2010 by Tia Lalani

Petra Cegielny highlights Junior and Senior High School girls teams from Ermineskin who connect with our Augustana Women’s Basketball Team.

Hoop Dreams
by Petra Cegielny –

A future teacher, a nurse, chef and ACAC basketball stars were among a group of Ermineskin Junior and Senior High School girls who visited campus last semester to cheer on Augustana’s Women’s Basketball Team in their game against NAIT. In addition to a fast-paced game, the evening included a tour of campus, a home-cooked meal in the cafeteria, and the opportunity to do the play-by-play for Camrose television.

The visit was thanks to Genna Flinkman, the Vikings’ point guard, team co-captain and an outstanding physical education/psychology student. As a leader both on and off the court, Genna connected with the coaches of the Ermineskin Girl s ‘ Basketball Team from the Hobbema area. “I think it is very important that my teammates and I connect with aspiring athletes,” says Genna. “I thought it would be really cool for us to do more than just go and talk. It is a much better experience to join in and see the game in action.”

“I have had some amazing mentors at Augustana that have shown me how important it is to give back to the community, help out the younger generations and give them the opportunity to be where I am at in the future,” says Genna. “Plus, I remember being in junior high and high school and watching college ball – I would have done anything to go talk to them or practice with them, so I was eager to give others that experience.”

The Ermineskin Girl s ‘ Basketball Team was invited back to Augustana the following week to attend a practice. Joining the Vikings in various drills, the two teams worked on skills together. “It was a pleasure to have the Ermineskin team participate in our practice and attend our game,” says Vikings Coach Leanne Shenton. “Everyone appreciates support and often, in sport especially, this can help propel individuals to new heights. The Ermineskin girls also gave perspective to individuals on our team about the level of their success. Our team, as with most high-level athletes, can often put their focus solely on the results of a game. This year has presented many close games and a tough first semester. Having the Ermineskin girls affirm our athletes as the ‘best basketball players they have ever seen’ gave our team more confidence and allowed our student-athletes to reflect on how far they have come as athletes.”

Coach Shenton feels that having the Ermineskin team attend a Vikings practice and game was positive for their development as well. “Sport can be a microcosm for life,” says Coach Shenton. “Sport presents an opportunity to grow in character, skill and teamwork. The best growth happens when there is a balanced combination of discipline, passion and hard work. My hope is these girls would be encouraged to pursue a high level of discipline, passion and hard work in basketball, but also in other areas like their academics, school involvement, dance and music. Their involvement – accompanied by their vocal contributions in our practice – showed me they are passionate about basketball. By seeing a higher level of basketball, they are able to see the hard work and discipline they will need to achieve the goal of playing at the post secondary level.”

The Ermineskin Girl s ‘ Basketball Team Coach Henderson Best thanks the Augustana’s Women’s team for this opportunity and the individual attention they received. “This is a look into the life of a student athlete for our girls,” says Coach Henderson. “They know the path. Now they need to decide if they want to walk it.”
“It was awesome to have them here, it is a lot of fun for us to teach others and meet new faces,” says Genna. “The Ermineskin girls were awesome; they were quick learners and worked hard at what we were teaching them. I think sometimes we had more fun than the girls who joined in.”

Coach Henderson feels that the most important thing that came out of the experience is a friendship between the teams. Both teams are looking forward to strengthening this bond when they get together again this semester.

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