Document of Learning – Speech Draft

With my speech coming up in the very near future, I wanted to post my current draft of my speech to get any feedback any of you might have. This is about my fourth draft, however many of the previous drafts were specific parts of the speech, which I have now tried to mush together into one. The part that I would really love feedback on, is the middle body section, after the intro, but before the conclusion. I am particularly having difficulty getting that area to flow well. Any other feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Here it is:

” We were up by 5 with less than a minute remaining, a spot to the world championships on the line. Puerto Rico races up the floor and makes a quick layup. The clock keeps ticking down. We bring the ball up the court, and put a shot up. It misses. Puerto Rico gets the ball, and calls a timeout. The girls come in to the huddle. I tell them to stay calm, don’t foul, and play good defense, just don’t foul. They go back out onto the floor and execute what I asked perfectly, we’re up by three. Puerto Rico puts up a bad shot, and the girls go to rebound. But somehow, the ball bounces into the hands of the Puerto Rican three point shooter; she puts it up, and drains the three. The game is tied. With just seconds left, Teresa gets the ball and looks over at me. I didn’t have a timeout in because I didn’t think we would need it, I look at her and shrug, and motion for her to just go. She knows exactly what I mean.

As the clock expires, Teresa scores at the buzzer to send us to worlds, saving my butt again. As all the girls race onto the floor cheering her, I think to myself thank goodness for Teresa today. She’s done that so many times before, just made any coaching blunders go away, but this was pretty special.

The first time I saw Teresa, you could tell there was something inside her that loved the game. As a kid she grew up loving sports, she played tennis, roller hockey and on a daily basis my husband Mike would see her playing across the road from the high school he taught at. He would see her from his classroom window after school playing roller hockey with guys way older than her; but she was always having fun.

I would see her at camps and different basketball clinics. From the beginning, she had a true passion for basketball, and loved to play. I don’t know what caused her to be so motivated towards the game, but from an early age it was clear she loved it. The one thing that was very apparent when she played was that she had fun. And that’s the most important thing about basketball, or any sport, you do it because you love it. But even so, she played volleyball all throughout high school alongside her basketball, and it wasn’t until university that she chose to solely pursue the basketball game.

Following her career at Heritage Park Secondary in Mission, I recruited her to attend Simon Fraser University, where I was the coach at the time. Obviously I’d known her for a long time, but as a university coach, there were only certain times we were allowed to call players for recruiting. I called several times, but I would always get her mom, and she would say something like, Oh Teresa’s in the bath, or She’s in the shower. I started to wonder how somebody could bathe that much. Teresa was never really one for publicity or attention, in fact she is really quite an introverted person. Fortunately, in time, she came to the conclusion that SFU would be the right place for her. It was close to home and family, which I think was very important to her, and she would get immediate playing time. I also agreed to coach her for all four years of her career there. It turned out she would actually play five years at SFU as the school switched, in her fourth year, from NAIA to CIS, and I wouldn’t be her coach for her fifth year. But even so, once she had made the decision, she came at the university game in full force. In her senior season she burst the scene wide open recording 45 points in a game against trinity western university, the still standing points in a game record for the SFU women’s program, and was named the CIS defensive player of the year.

Remarkably, she attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics at only 20 years of age and still in university. She continued to play on the national team, as those Olympics would be the beginning of a legendary career to follow. Or at least what I think deserves to be known as legendary.

What was most remarkable however, was not in fact what she did, but how she did it. Being the quiet person that she was, she didn’t want to stray far from home. When she was playing on the National team early on, and was the youngest player on the team, they were over in Europe on a trip one time. The team had all sorts of nick names for her like ‘Young fry’ or ‘Stir fry’, and one night, she called me. She said to me, “Allison, I think I’m going to come home.” Just outright like that. And I said “No you’re not.” “but,” she said, “I don’t like it.” “Well,” I said, “nobody likes it when they go over there for the first time, not knowing anyone, the food is different, away from home.” I thought to myself, oh no, such a great player, I hope this isn’t going to end it all. But being the person she is, she toughed it out.  So you can imagine what happened when she went over to Europe to try playing professionally in the offseason after university. She felt uncomfortable and didn’t like being away from home, so that didn’t last. Another time, we got it set up for her to go to a WNBA tryout in Portland. Mike went down with her, and his report was good. He told me she was clearly the best guard there. One coach actually pulled his guard out of the tryout after a couple of hours because Teresa was completely annihilating her. Mike said, she could have played at that level if she wanted to, but again, she didn’t want to spend so much time away from family and she had some health problems that would make it difficult to play year round; but most importantly, she saw the WNBA as a distraction. So instead, in order to pursue her National team career, she did it all herself. She never gave  up on her pursuit; her pursuit of basketball, her pursuit of a career on the national team, and the pursuit of getting to another Olympics. (EMPHASIS)

Every year, she would continue with a crazy and treacherous routine to maintain her basketball. Each day, in the offseason, she would rise at 3:30 in the morning, to go to work. She worked at her parents’ bakery in her hometown of Mission, and still does to this day. She would work a shift till around 8 in the morning loading and delivering stocks and then go to her mom’s house for breakfast. After her meal, she would head to the gym to train. Later, she’d take a nap to refresh for round two. Again, she would go to work for another shift, and then head to the gym for another workout. On an average day she would be working out around 5 hours, and working a full time job. Her passion and commitment to the game are really unexplainable and are really what allowed her and pushed her to keep going for so long.

Going through the journey with her was truly amazing. We both learnt from each other. In our time together at SFU, I was a young coach, and she was a developing athlete, I think we both helped each other, as I had formerly played the point guard position in my playing days, and she was helping me learn things about the game as well. A lot of people said that she wouldn’t be able to compete at the international level, without playing professionally, or that she was too short to play at that level, as she was only 5’5, about my height. But her love for the game proved them wrong.

It was only suiting that in 2012 she got to finish at the Olympics in London, where she had so desperately wanted to get back to after all those years. It was such a joy qualifying with her in Turkey on Canada Day, I will never forget that. Running up to her after the game, just having been with her so long, through so much. And then the Olympics themselves. As I think Teresa would agree, if you’re not an athlete and you haven’t actually been in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, walking in with all the other athletes from your country, you don’t know what it feels like.

Our final game in London, was a blowout loss in the quarterfinals to the eventual gold medallists in the U.S., but what I remember from it was how special it was to be there with her. That being the best finish ever for Canada at the Olympics, and knowing that that was the end of her outstanding career. It was such an emotional experience, and such an amazing journey. I think she really deserves a lot more credit than she gets for what she did. Through all the highs and the lows, she really changed the face of women’s basketball in Canada, and now girls all around the country look up to her. Walking off the court with her after that game, is something I will never forget. ”


Still working on it, getting certain areas more concise and to flow well together.

I have also recently completed two interviews for the project: I was very lucky to interview Allison McNeill, who was a former coach of Teresa Gabriele for 16+ years, along with many other personal achievements herself, and she is also who I am writing my speech in the perspective of. Oh did I not mention that earlier? I was also very lucky to interview my actual eminent person herself! Yes, Teresa Gabriele, in person! There will be more information on these interviews in my upcoming interview post. However, below are a few preview pictures of what you can look forward to:

lead up allison int. scrst.

allison int. photo up teresa int. scrst.Thank you for all your help, and enjoy!


Coaches Day – Thank You

Though this is somewhat unrelated to my project, it is also very related, and I wanted to take this opportunity and platform to thank all the amazing coaches I’ve had in basketball.

Today is Basketball Coaches Day in Canada, and I really wanted to thank all of the amazing people who have helped me in the sport over the past 6+ years. You have all given so much time and effort to helping grow the sport and helping individual athletes like me develop in the game. I really appreciate all that you put in, and everything that you’ve done for me.

As I think my eminent person would agree, the coaches and mentors that you have along the way truly help you become the person and player you are. It wouldn’t be possible without them. It really does take a whole village to raise a child, athlete, and basketball player.

Thank You

Simon Fraser, SUCCESS!

Teresa and me at a Canada vs. China international exhibition game about two and a half years ago.

As my post’s title may lead you, I have had success, and in this case, I am referring to the choosing of my eminent person. I have decided on the one and only Teresa Gabriele! The decision was made with the assistance of a classmate over a Facebook discussion the night prior to this field study. Thank you for helping me with my decision, unspecified classmate, you know who you are! I chose Teresa for several reasons which I will later mention. Thank you also to all of you who also commented on my intro post. Your support was much appreciated and helpful.

Obviously I covered a lot of basic information about my eminent person in my initial blog post but I’ll just talk about some of the main reasons I chose her. First of all, I have quite a few connections to Teresa. She is from Mission  B.C. and is considerably shorter than the average basketball height, she is also a point guard. I am also from B.C. and somewhat close to Mission (relative). Now you may be wondering about the height part, as right now I don’t look that short particularly, compared to other girls my age. Well, I’m taller than my dad, an achievement of about two years ago, and I’m closing in on my mom, and I’m taller than every single one of my aunts. So the prospects for a dramatic growth spurt are somewhat unlikely looking, at least, at those facts. That is another reason I have always admired Teresa though, her ability to compete against players of greater heights, and her perseverance to do so. Also, as I mentioned, she plays the point guard position, which is somewhat similar to me, as at this point I usually play a guard spot, and am playing more and more of the point guard position specifically. But most importantly, I thought it made the most sense for me to do Teresa Gabriele as my eminent person because I have idolized her for so many years, and I am truly passionate about her. I had some minor reasons for not choosing my other prospects for the sake of this project as well, and as my classmate mentor told me “…just chop off one person, and then don’t look back, don’t consider them after that…” It also just so happens that Teresa herself went to SFU, which is funny because that is where we travelled the following day after my decision.

Going into the SFU field study, I made a brief list of what I wanted to get out of the trip:

– Any possible knowledge of Teresa’s experience at the university
– Any possible research or resources about women’s basketball, the game in Canada, and the development of the women’s game in Canada
– Experience and knowledge about SFU – local university campus, interested in possibly for future, and experience around the campus
– A fun experience with the amazing TALONS classes of the year 2014-15, an awesome day out in town, getting to know and spending more time with my fellow classmates
– Not necessarily trying new food, as I generally don’t like spicy food and haven’t had Indian before, but should be interesting
– I love going up the hill, being up on Burnaby Mountain and the SFU campus up there, it is such a serene, peaceful, and perspective-filled place for me and I love it, so I will hopefully enjoy being up there, maybe it will even be a nice day.

Well, we didn’t quite luck out on the weather but I certainly had an amazing experience and day, and succeeded in obtaining almost all of the items on that list with a few additions. As expected, there weren’t specifically any books on Teresa, however, upon looking on the library’s website, it appears as though there are some digital articles about her playing career there. I most definitely did, however, obtain physical resources on women’s basketball. In fact, it was most unbelievable to me and fellow basketballer from morning, Sara, how much sheer information there was on basketball and specifically women’s basketball. Here is a photo of me with the books, solely on basketball!

Me in the W.A.C. Bennett Library with the women’s basketball books.

I took out two books on women’s basketball. Amazingly, the books’ due date isn’t until mid January, so I can use these books for reference throughout the entire project. The books will help me in further understanding high level women’s basketball and the significance of Teresa on the women’s game in Canada. Oh, and did I mention I decided to wear my SFU women’s basketball sweater for the  trip? Also, while in the library, I ran into one of the former players for the women’s basketball team, KC, whom I have grown to know through summer basketball camps over the last few years. She recognized me (Oh my gosh, freak out moment!) and we had a solid five minute or so conversation! This was one of the unplanned but awesome moments of the trip!

The entrance to the W.A.C. Bennett Library
The entrance to the W.A.C. Bennett Library

Also the night before the trip, I wrote this poem, some parts were written as if they were happening in anticipation of what was to come(it can hopefully give you a little more background information about how I felt/feel):

 The night before our trip

I made my decision

With some assistance of the one Vanessa F

When we left the next morning

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect

From the rest of the day

But I did know I was just excited to go up the hill

Because in my time working up there

On basketball drills, skills, and fortunately not hills

I have come to love the place’s grounds

The slate on which it sits is mounted so you can look down on the valleys

Seeing all the nooks and alleys

It is a very happy place for me

I have many fond memories up there

And not to my despair

We are already there

Our big bunch

Has gone out for lunch

At this cool Indian place

It’s a new taste for me

But I think some of the others have had food like this before

Later we are going to explore the library and campus

TALONS footprints will tramp around the hill

Hopefully no one will take a spill

But for real


Something’s bound to happen

The excitement continues as we travel around different venues

From place to place leaving traces of our university experience at SFU

The view from where we entered the SFU academic complex.

I know, its sounds like I wrote this at the restaurant on the trip, but I didn’t, although, much of the poem remains accurate.

     I also wrote this poem, or thought, actually while we were there. It was written during “solo time”, I believe it is called, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We as individuals were given time to collect our thoughts and take everything in. I love doing this and spend so much time doing it on regular basis, so I very much enjoyed it:

We observe the essence of communal civilization

The university campus bustling grows as the time passes into developed morning

The footsteps trace  across the black floor

Photo taken during solo time

     During this time, I learnt a lot about the atmosphere of university and specifically SFU. I learnt a lot overall about the university over the course of the day: during the campus tour, solo time, wandering the library, and just being around the campus. I have been up to the campus many times before for basketball, as I mentioned in my poem, but I’d never really been around anywhere except the gym. So because of this, I thoroughly enjoyed getting my bearings on the whole campus, it was really neat to see the actual academics portion more. One thought that I really took away from the short time up there on Thursday, was that even though the school appears very industrially built, it has little glimpses of character and small design touches everywhere that made it feel very cozy and comfy to me.

Notice board on edge of the convocation square.

     It felt like a nice community secluded by its geographical location. I also enjoyed the time we spent in the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. I have previously been very interested in aboriginal peoples as well as geology and archeology so this reignited and reminded me of my interest for those areas, I also learnt lots in the museum.

Sculpture outside the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology.

     I would characterize the overall trip as an “experience”, because everything in life is an experience, and you just have to appreciate it. Personally I gained many different experiences fro this one trip alone: experience on the campus of SFU, experience in a university library, experience trying a new type of food, and an experience with my fellow TALONS learners!

     The one part that I did not enjoy as much particularly was the Indian food, as I am not a huge fan of Indian food, as I earlier mentioned. However what I did love about the time at the restaurant, was spending time with all my amazing fellow classmates, who are all much more than just classmates! Here are some pictures that I hope can sum up this amazing ‘experience’ at SFU:

Jenny and me at our table in the Himalayan Peak restaurant for lunch.
Jenny and me at our table in the Himalayan Peak restaurant for lunch.
Vanessa G and me on the bus back to our school.
Our TALONS classes on the edge of the convocation square.

There are so many more pictures that I would love to share with you, but there would be way too many. All I can say, is that it was an amazing experience and I had a ton of fun for many different reasons!