In Transition: Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley played a key role in her team’s exciting win at the PacWest Provincial Championships this year. At the 2017 PacWest Provincial Championships Amber led the team in scoring with 17 points to knock off the undefeated Capilano University Blues for the gold medal.
She is an incredible force on the Douglas College women’s team, but she got her start in Abbotsford at Colleen and Gordie Howe Middle School and graduated from W.J. Mouat Secondary School.
Amber’s teammates can attest to the fact that her strengths go beyond the basketball court as she is an incredible leader, a focused student, and caring person. Amber was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about her experiences, we hope that you will find value in her responses.
Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: “I started playing basketball competitively around the age of 12 or 13. Although, basketball had been a large part of my life growing up to that point; watching my dad coach and my brother play.”
Q: What’s your fondest memory of the sport?
A: “I have many fond memories from playing over the years. I think I am most fond of the connections and friendships I have made with all my past and present teammates. If I had to narrow it down to one specific memory I think it would have to be getting to give my dad/coach a big hug after winning provincials with my college basketball team this past March.”
Q: If you could tell give your grade 8 self any advice, what would it be?
A: “I would tell my grade 8 self to dive into every opportunity without holding back, seek out challenges that will be difficult but make you better. In grade 8 I was just starting to really get into basketball and I was extremely timid and nervous about it. If someone told me when I was in grade 8 that I would be a guard for a college team and starting in a provincial championship game I would have laughed them out of the gym. So I would let grade 8 me know to dream big because anything is possible.”
Q: Talk us through your experience at provincials this year, what were your expectations going in?
A: “The experience at provincials this year was incredible. We had such a fantastic support group up in Squamish with us; all of our families were there, friends, and a lot of support from the Douglas athletics program. I had a healthy amount of nerves but I was confident. Both nights it felt like we had a home crowd out rooting for us. My expectations going in were to win that first game and worry about the rest later.”
Q: What was your mindset?
A: “My mindset the whole weekend was one play at a time. I have felt the sting of getting too far ahead of yourself thinking about that gold medal and then all of a sudden it has slipped through your fingers. I knew there would be ups and downs but I felt that if we took it one play at a time and weathered the storms as they came we would be successful.”
Q: What does the word ‘teamwork’ mean to you, and how has that changed over the years?
A: “I think my perception of teamwork has always been about putting the team first and doing whatever it takes to be a successful unit. As I have matured and especially over the last couple of years I think it has grown to being able to let the little things go. Be willing to go with the flow and let things happen as you may not think they should but as they would be best for the group. ”
Q: What would you say was the key to your successful season this year?
A: “I think the key to our success was largely linked to our ability to have everyone buy in. It was not an easy road for us at first having a lot of veteran players trying to find their way under a new coaching staff. A lot of us were quite stuck in our ways at the beginning of this season. I think it was over Christmas of last year that we made the switch and were able to let go of what we thought should be and buy into what we were being told would work. We bought into the idea that Steve Beauchamp (head coach), Sean Beasley (assistant coach) and Katja Fuess (assistant coach) had been where we wanted to go and they knew what was best to get us there. Additional to a great coaching staff, we had a great group of girls this year. We had quite a few girls who had been with the program for a long time, a couple of transfers that offered new insight on parts of our game and a couple of rookies that kept us all on our toes. We were a unit that worked together and it fuelled our success.”
Q:How do you think playing basketball has helped shape you as a person?
A: “Basketball has taught me too many skills to list that I take into my everyday life. Basketball has taught me humbleness, nothing knocks you off your pedestal more than 3 back to back years of heartbreak at the provincial championships. It has taught me to be patient, to earn everything you are given, and how to be a member of a team. I am grateful for the lessons that this game has taught me, I am a better person for it.”
Q: If you could change one thing about basketball in Abbotsford, what would it be?
A: “If I could change something about basketball in Abbotsford I would diversify and expand the options for youth basketball development. I would like to see more options for competition among programs that are more localized in the region, as opposed to some kids having to travel out to Metro Vancouver to develop their game.”
You can catch Amber and the Douglas Royals Women’s Basketball team next year when they play locals Columbia Bible College in league play. We will share the schedule once the PacWest has released it.
Thank you for your time, Amber. We wish you well in your last year at Douglas College and we look forward to seeing you coach in the future.