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Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff

“WORDS ARE, IN my not-so-humble of opinions, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

Yes, those wise words were spoken by Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the fictional school of wizardry in the world of Harry Potter. But over the past weekend, they could just as easily have been applied to our women’s basketball team.
Confused yet?

Last weekend our women’s basketball team won the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) gold-medal game, sending them to the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) championships. Our Gees, however talented, were not always consistent enough to play a 40-minute game throughout the season. But when they are motivated, man, can they move!

The March 2 game against the Brock Badgers demonstrated this point. The Gees had a terribly slow start, to the point where they were trailing at halftime. Ottawa was able to pick up the game for the win, but for a team ranked sixth nationally, we weren’t playing up to our potential.

The March 3 gold-medal match was a different story. The team came out strong and stayed that way throughout the entire game. It was a level of basketball previously unseen by Gee-Gees fans, and we were all in awe, so much so we had to wonder: What on earth did head coach Andy Sparks say to the team to get them so fired up?

Well, I asked some of the players after the game, and they were all told to make every basket—and every play—as if it were their last. To live entirely in the moment and to play the hardest they’ve ever played.

Those must have been some truly magic words. The team was completely transformed, playing as though their lives depended on a win. Even when they were up by 20 points, they didn’t slow down. Those words inspired our Gees so much they pulled a complete upset over Windsor, the former OUA champions and second-ranked team nationally.

As a journalist, the power of words fascinates me, and to see it in its truest form—motivating a group of determined and independent athletes—is truly a sight to behold. I would kill to be able to sit in on those pre-game pep talks.

But for now, I am content in watching the outcome of those words—those words that brought us to the CIS championships.