Jade Addai picked up a basketball for the first time at the age of seven. Little did this Cleveland Cavaliers fan know that this sport would stay with her thereafter as an integral part of her life. Even today, in the second year of her undergraduate degree, Addai expresses her athleticism as a point guard at UTM’s first varsity team for women’s basketball.

Addai has moved around quite a lot. Starting in Britain, she moved to Saskatchewan at the age of nine, and eventually to Mississauga to attend UTM. However, despite these changes, basketball has always been a constant for her. In fact, Addai has been on her school basketball teams throughout middle school, high school and so far, all of her undergraduate years. In addition to this, she reflects her spirit for athleticism through many other forms of physical activity, such as soccer. Addai also admits, “[I’m] really into gymnastics. I love it and I watch it, especially during the Olympics”. Not to mention, “I run too and I’m never gonna give up that,” says Addai.

One of her important influencers has been her high school basketball coach who led her to think existentially about why she plays sports. Addai believes that playing sports, “is just a good feeling and a nice relief.” Her other role models include LaVar Ball. Addai especially agrees with his quote about “speaking into existence.” Ball says, “When you’re saying anything, say it with meaning, believe you can do it, and you can accomplish it.”

In addition, Addai also admires Lonzo Ball, a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. “He was number 2. That’s why I’m number 2,” she says.

In her first year, Addai was involved in the D-League for women’s basketball where they had quite an impressive year. They won the championship and Addai was awarded the MVP title. This year, she was exhilarated to find out she could play for varsity instead and step up her game.

Astoundingly, Addai reveals that this is a new program. “This is our first year in varsity so we’re just trying to get used to each other and how each of us play. It’s kind of a building year,” she admits. Although seemingly unnecessary on the surface, according to Addai, this is a critical prerequisite for success in basketball. She believes, “There are good players all over the world. Players can be good but what matters is that we need to play with one rhythm and one heart, otherwise you’re not going to succeed. Anyone can dribble, but this is a team sport”. And in accordance with this stunning insight, Addai thinks her team has “a lot of personality, and we’re all just clicking with one another and trying to work well together.”

During this year, Addai unfortunately, experienced a back injury. This is another obstacle Addai is trying to work around as she states, “I have to know my limits… I still really want to play and I’m trying to work through this injury and play through it.”

In comparison to her previous teams, Addai states she has found that varsity is a “whole other level.” She goes on to say, “They’re really competitive. From D-league to varsity, the level goes up. They take it really seriously…they’re all just trying to win.”

UTM is inconceivably fortunate to have players like Addai being one of their faces for their varsity women’s basketball team. Despite the development of this league being in its infancy, Jade believes, “I think we’ve potential to do well. When everyone starts pushing we will eventually push through.” Regardless, for Addai, basketball will always remain a source of “enjoyment and relief.”