The Saskatchewan High Schools Association (SHSAA) has a rule for high school athletes.
This rule states that from the time a student turns 16-years-old or they reach Grade 10 (whichever comes first), said student only has three consecutive years to play high school sports. This rule is in place to ensure students that are 20-years-old aren't playing sports with 16-year-old students, although oddly, age doesn't account in the SHSAA's decision to make an exception to this rule.
As I explained in my letter to the SHSAA, I went on a Rotary student exchange to Taiwan in my Grade 11 year (2008-2009) and since all my classes were in Chinese, none of the credits I earned in Taiwan counted towards my schooling in Estevan. Therefore I had to enroll in Grade 11 last year (2009-2010).
I am now in my final year of high school and want to play basketball. It will give me a chance to play post-secondary basketball, keep me physically fit and I just love everything about basketball.
My honesty has been my downfall in this whole situation. Many people didn't know about this rule the SHSAA has in place and even fewer people knew about my exchange. If I hadn't been honest I would have been playing illegally this year without any problems. Unfortunately honesty won out and I appealed to the SHSAA to allow me to play this year. As you may have figured out by now, my request was denied. No reason was given, no excuse, nothing for me to understand why they made such a decision. My age, as I explained to the SHSAA in my letter shouldn't be a problem as I won't turn 19 until after the basketball season is over. Instead of being rewarded for the educational opportunity I took, they are punishing me.
I love basketball and have loved it since elementary school. The rush of adrenaline, the butterflies in my stomach before a game, that's something I won't get to feel again. The feeling of diving on a ball or making a shot, I'll miss it all. Most of all I'll miss being on a team, being part of a family. Last year my team had 12 girls on it and only two graduated. Being with the same people six days a week for almost five months straight does make them family. We triumphed together, lost together, laughed together and cried together and for my senior year I will have to watch it all from the sidelines.
Why should these people have the power to take away my final year of basketball for no reason but a year abroad with no explanation and no empathy. Or, a better question is, how could they?
Jaye T. Nicholas