|Assistant Coach Steve Hopkins works Xs and Os with his Sting men's basketball crew in a recent game at Newnham Gymnasium.|
Friday, January 27, 2012
Seneca Sting Varsity Men’s Basketball team forms bond despite up and down season
The second of a two-part series.
By: Aneela Khan, Seneca Student Sports Reporter
Seneca varsity athletes are a different species of college student. They often experience more and unique pressures than the average Seneca student. They also deal with heavier workloads and have to find a balance for their school, part-time work, athletic commitments and personal life.
In the previous article, Seneca’s women’s basketball team was asked about their lives as student-athletes. In this article, the men’s basketball team is the focus.
The Seneca’s Sting varsity men’s basketball team hosted the Algonquin Thunder on a Friday night in early January and lost by a score of 69-55. The next night, they hosted the La Cité Coyotes and lost in the final seconds by a heartbreaking score of 69-68.
When most Seneca students were hanging out with friends and family or partying their Friday nights away, the Sting were hard at work on the hardwood.
Forward Curtis Baanee, who is currently studying Recreation and Leisure, points out that being a student-athlete isn’t hard for him.
“As a student athlete, it’s not as difficult as people think it is. You just have to show commitment and determination to balance both on court and off court activities.” Easier said than done for most Seneca students.
He also mentions that time management is key for Seneca student-athletes. Meanwhile, small forward Steve Bifsha, who is studying Accounting/Finance, points out that dedication is key for he and his team-mates.
Bifsha is a little more modest about the balancing act.
“It’s definitely tough. It takes a lot of time management. You have to be committed to the sport and school work so it takes a lot of time out of your schedule just to keep up with all the work.”
Bifsha’s biggest struggle as a student-athlete is making it all work.
“With my personal life, school work, job, basketball all at the same time; it’s definitely tough but I have people [family, friends, coaches, team-mates, team coordinators) who make it easy for me so that helps.”
Two-guard Adam Balazs mentions that he had to give up a lot when he became a Sting varsity athlete.
“Well, first of all, I’m from Niagara Falls, so I had to move here [to Toronto]. I had [and have] to sacrifice to be an athlete and to be a student as well.”
He also talks about his biggest struggle in his dual roles.
“Travelling to King Campus every day and visiting my family back home in Niagara Falls. That’s a long road trip!”
Guard/Forward KG Beckley, who just recently became part of the Seneca Sting men’s basketball team, describes his experience so far as a Seneca student athlete as a learning experience.
“I just got to the school so I’m still seeing how stuff works. I think so far so good. I’m starting to feel like the other guys on the team when it comes to managing personal life but at least I have them [as a resource] as I get closer to these guys. School wise, I’m still doing fine for first semester, but I see the struggle ahead.”
The players also discussed what they loved the most about being a student-athlete. For Baanee, it was his love of the game.
“I love playing basketball. Plain and simple. This is my game.”
For Bifsha, it was all about the team.
“I love the men’s basketball team. We are all a family and we are all brothers. That’s something other Seneca student don’t get to experience, really. Unless they come to our games,” Bifsha croaks.
For Balazs, it was about opportunity.
“What I love is coach [Wayne] Dawkins gave me an opportunity to be a part of this family and to be a part of this team.”
Finally, for Beckley, it was about the team and the brotherhood the binds them.
“I love the basketball team because they’re a good group of guys who want to win, and who look to win but even when the results aren’t there – they support each other. Lookout for one another.”
The players could all agree about the one thing they disliked when it came to being a student-athlete. All of them agreed that it was losing.
Beckley sums up what the team felt like after they lost to the La Cite Coyotes on Saturday.
“I don’t like the feeling of losing, even if you just lose by like one point, you don’t feel like you gained anything because at the end of the day a loss is a loss. But through wins and losses, we’re still a team.”
The Sting men’s basketball squad’s next game is on Saturday Jan. 28 against the Cambrian Golden Shield at Newnham Gymnasium (Building G, Sports Centre, Lower Level). Tipoff is set for 4:30 pm.