BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
When Candie Sabel first started playing basketball she described her play as absolutely horrible. Now, many years later, Sabel is one of the top junior women basketball players in the North.
Sabel recently played in the Nike Juvenile Development (JDP) Camp in North York for team Northern Ontario. Five other girls from the Sudbury area joined the Sudbury native as they took on the best players from the rest of the province. The whole experience made a huge impact on Sabel's life and basketball career.
Sabel made the JDP team after a friend convinced her to go try out. Sabel and her teammates were impressed with the level of competition they faced at the Nike camp.
"It was highly competitive down there," said Sabel. "I learned so much from the girls I played against because they were amazing."
The girls had a tremendous amount of fun at the tournament, but also represented the North with a lot of class. The girls from the North played a total of five games.
"Our first two games didn't go to well," said Sabel. "We kept our heads high and all the other teams complimented us on our pride."
The Northern girls were out to prove they had pure sportsmanship.
"Our coach wanted us to show a lot of class and we did," said Sabel. "We proved, even though we lost games that we could remain positive and everybody on the team was a winner with that kind of attitude."
The last three games provided them with a better opportunity to show off their talents.
"We played a lot better in the last three games because we came together as a team more," said Sabel. "No matter the outcome, if you look at the positive, things will get better and in turn you will become a better player."
Sabel's JDP coach, Dave Paddington likes her will and determination.
"Candie has the desire to be a better player all the time and that's the mark of a great player," said Paddington. "She's a complete asset to any team."
Sabel took a wonderful experience away from the camp as did her teammates. They all improved on their skills and saw what kind of competition is out there.
"I came away knowing I was a better and smarter player," said Sabel. "It will definitely go a long ways toward helping me try to make a university basketball team in the future."
Sabel got more than she bargained for at the camp. Not only did she come away with a better understanding of what type of player she can be; but she came away having a better idea of what she really wants to become in life's grand stage.
"I talked to a lot of sports therapists down there and that has made me want to get into kinesiology or sports therapy," said Sabel. "I know I always wanted to play university basketball, but after that I didn't know what I wanted to do in life and now I have a better understanding of what I want to do."
Sabel loves the fact therapist are constantly involved in sports and maintain a high degree of physical fitness. Not only does Sabel shoot out the lights in basketball, but she is also a very accomplished track and field star. The quick-footed Sabel has made it to OFFSA the last two years for the 300 metre hurdles, the 400-metre dash and the four by 100 metre relay.
Sabel knows her swift feet and long stride help her in both sports and she knows she's extremely fortunate.
"It makes me feel really lucky to be able to compete in all those sports," said Sabel. "I'm also lucky to have so many coaches willing to spend their time with me and make me a better athlete and person."