By Katie Hobday
When it comes time to reflect on five years of playing a varsity sport, it can be difficult to put the experience into words.
“There are so many memories… it’s tough to put it in a sentence,” said Vanessa Kwan, who along with teammates Clare Linton, Liz Allan and Amy Sanderson, is nearing the end of her five-year field hockey career for the Dinos.
“It has pretty much been my life. It’s been so great–I’ve had such an awesome experience,” recalled Allan.
And these ladies have experienced a lot, with the turnover of coaches and players, since they began playing with the Dinos five years ago.
“It’s been really fun. It’s been a cool experience playing with lots of different girls and different coaches,” reminisced Linton, who feels she has come a long way as a player. “Field hockey wasn’t my first sport when I was in high school.”
After an ACL injury kept her off the soccer pitch, Linton switched to field hockey and hasn’t looked back. In May, along with Allan, she will be moving to Vancouver to train with the national team.
“We will play almost the whole year,” explained Allan, who is looking forward to this exciting opportunity. “This is a big year to play on the national team, because the Commonwealth Games are next year.”
Over the past five years, the team has traveled to Germany and throughout the north-eastern United States.
“It was really draining, living on the bus. But it was fun,” said Kwan.
Allan also enjoyed the trip: “We played top U.S. colleges, and we competed very well. It showed us that the Dinos are as competitive as other really good teams.”
Linton’s fourth-year as a Dino stands out as one of her favourite memories.
“The best year was last season,” she said. “We were very tight, and I felt very comfortable with them. Everyone contributed to the success of the team.”
“Our coaches were awesome,” Allan agreed.
“I’ve had quite the experience. I’ve learned tons. And it was basically just a lot of fun,” said Kwan, who credits her coaches and teammates for the great experience. “I’ve been able to do what I love.”
The Dinos will miss these ladies greatly, each bringing a wealth of talent and experience to the team.
Both Linton and Allan have been recognized for the past two years for their talents, earning spots on the Canada West All-Star team. Kwan and Sanderson have both played for the Alberta team in the past as well.
Sanderson’s strong leadership skills earned her the role of captain as selected by her teammates. She is currently teaching in China and, unfortunately, could not be reached for comment.
While the team takes a big hit from the loss of these four ladies, next year will bring in a new set of rookies and new faces will assume the leadership roles. Hopefully, more that will enjoy the sport and the team as much as past graduates have.