What does it mean to be a Grizzly? — Part One

Just because the spring and summer high school seasons were cancelled doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of NPSS Grizzlies accomplishments to celebrate. The annual athletics awards will be announced throughout the week, starting June 4. In the weeks leading up to the awards, current Grizzlies will share what it means to them to be a Grizzly. 

This week, we hear from Grade 10 athletes.

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Brenna Carlstad - basketball, rugby, volleyball, track and field

Being a Grizzly means being part of a family full of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. It means you always have a shoulder to cry on, a push when you need one, and someone by your side every step of the way. During my time of being a Grizzly, I’ve made so many new friends, fell in love with new sports, and I’m proud of who I represent. I always have somebody to count on, to help me be the best I can. You can’t put a price on the laughs, tears, celebrations, and memories I’ve made with teammates and coaches.

I wake up in the morning ready to conquer anything my sports have waiting to challenge me, and I go to bed anxious for the next day, ready to do it all over again. The pain that I feel knowing that my spring season got ripped away from me when it was at my fingertips is a pain I’ve never had to deal with. It’s not like getting a basketball to the face or a hard hit in rugby, it’s the pain of not seeing my family and not being able to create the memories we were supposed to have.

But being a Grizzly means you keep your head up and think of the positives; no I’m not playing rugby, but I can take this time to heal my body and train so I can come back and be better than I was last season. No, I can’t see my mentors, but I can’t wait for the feeling when I do.

Being a Grizzly means doing your best, even at your worst.

It means always pushing through and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. It means going out of your way to pick someone up who has fallen down. It’s being humble winners and gracious losers. When you’re a Grizzly, you’re in a safe place - a safe place to ask questions, a safe place to be yourself and try new things. I’m so proud to claim the Grizzlies name. There’s no team I’d rather play for, cry with, make memories with, and to have during this hard time. We’re all in this together. It’s still Grizzly season.

Devon Lee - volleyball

Devon Lee (left), and an NPSS volleyball teammate after winning a tournament during the 2019-20 season. - supplied

Being a Grizzly this year was an amazing experience. I got to learn from all of my teammates, especially the Grade 11 and 12s. Being a Grizzly comes along with lots of hard work and dedication. It’s not just about how well you perform, it’s about representing your school, and showing sportsmanship and respect to teammates and opponents.

I am honoured to be a Grizzly and hope to continue for the next few years.

Gracie English - volleyball

Gracie English (left) and her NPSS volleyball teammates celebrate a gold-medal win earlier in the 2019-20 season. - supplied

What does it mean to be a Grizzly? For me, it’s a community of people all working towards some kind of goal. Whether it is something specific to their sport or just wanting to feel healthier, each person has something that drives them to work hard. To wake up early to be at open gym. To put every ounce of effort into each drill. To stay positive when it feels impossible.

But you can’t reach those goals on your own. You lean on your coaches, teammates, and every other person who shares the experience of being a Grizzly athlete. In turn they support you by picking you up when you fall and letting you know you can, and will, finish that last rep. They are there to celebrate the comebacks you almost didn’t believe were possible and the wins you worked so hard for.

More importantly this family is there to help you hold your head up through the losses, the mistakes, the injuries, and all the other challenges your being an athlete could throw at you. This goes beyond sports though. Lifelong friendships are formed in all the little moments, the bus trips and the water breaks. Someone will always be there to go to when you’re having a rough day or think you’ll never overcome a challenge. Because we’re better when we’re together.

When I found out that we wouldn’t be going back after spring break I couldn’t believe it. Once I finally understood what that would mean for the community I was so lucky to be a part of, it was heartbreaking. Everyday I wonder what memories would’ve been made if I was able to be at the gym with those amazing people. However, being a Grizzly doesn’t stop when you leave the gym or the field or the track. It’s something you always carry, pushing you to be the best version of yourself. The drive that tells me I can work through the lowest lows and come out stronger because of it. A knowledge that when I accomplish something in the future my Grizzly family will be proud of me and I’ll be proud that they were a part of the journey.

I’m so thankful to be a Grizzly because it has helped me feel strong and shown me that anything is possible if I put in the work. My first year as a Grizzly resulted in some of my closest friendships, proudest moments, and best memories. I can’t wait to see what happens when our family is together again. Remember, it’s still Grizzly season.

Meghan Stobbe - basketball

Being a Grizzly isn’t some easy task. You have to be determined, dedicated and self-driven on and off the court. Now, that means putting a smile on your face and being sportsmanlike — even when you lost in the final, you show up to early morning training sessions, you give everything you have in practices
and games.

You respect your team and coaches, you find that inner strength even when you have given it all, you push yourself and set personal records, you fight hard until the end. That’s what it means to be a Grizzly.

— submitted by Sam Stackhouse

Send club news to sports@ahnfsj.ca 

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