A Tseshaht First Nation member’s dream of playing basketball with the Team BC girls’ squad in the North American Indigenous Games is one step closer to reality.
Memphis Dick, 11, is headed for the second round of tryouts for Team BC in Langley this December.
Dick made the cut after surviving the first round of tryouts in mid-October.
If she makes it, Dick would be the youngest player on the team, which will be made up of girls from across B.C.
“The coaches said they like what they see in her so far. They let her know what her strengths are and provided positive criticism about what she needs to work on,” father Ed Ross said.
Dick attends Haa-huu-payak Elementary School in Port Alberni, where she helps with her school’s team. She first learned to play basketball on the Tseshaht Lady Eagles team coached by Gina Pearson. Her basketball idol is former Chicago Bull and Washington General Michael Jordan.
Dick finished a special basketball camp held at Maht Mahs gym in preparation for later this month.
The North American Indigenous Games is a multi-sport event involving Aboriginal athletes from across North America. They are being held in Saskatchewan in 2014. Athletes compete in sports such as basketball, softball and soccer, as well as canoeing, volleyball and lacrosse.
Athletes try out for regional teams for each sport in each province. In basketball for instance, more than 12 camps are being held across B.C. The final team will be drawn from those who make the cut after final tryouts at each camp.
A multi-sport athlete himself, Ross has tried to coach Dick but says if her passion is to take wings then she has to learn from someone else.
“It’s hard when you’re a dad coaching. It’s easy for your child to roll your eyes at you when you’re trying to coach something, yet they won’t with another coach,” he said.
“It’s important for her to have a proper basketball mentor now, and to figure out what she wants to do and do it.”
The North American Indigenous Games are a large event; the 2006 games in Denver, Colorado attracted 10,000 athletes from more than 1,000 tribes.