She loves Michael Jackson, Twilight and helping people out, and last month 17-year-old Emily was able to add another item to the things that are precious to her: A bronze medal from the Four Corners Provincial Basketball Competition.
Emily is a youth in the care of Quinte Children’s Homes and lives in Ottawa, where she joined the local high school team that led her to this competition.
The Four Corners competition, hosted by Special Olympics Ontario, pits teams from the four parts of Ontario (north, south, east, and west) against each other in 3-on-3 competitions. After competing against other teams in eastern Ontario, Emily’s team advanced to the final competition, which was held in Waterloo in early June.
Her team eventually lost to the team from Manitoulin Island, representing northern Ontario, but it didn’t matter: They’d already had an amazing time.
The road to provincials
The journey to the Four Corners competition started last November, when Emily’s team participated in the eastern competition held at Carleton University in Ottawa.
“They were treated like royalty,” described Valerie Seeley, Emily’s foster parent (what we call a Parent Therapist). “Emily’s team was able to practice with members of the University team, who gave them some great pointers going into their game.”
Basketball is a new part of Emily’s routine. She has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is within the Autism spectrum without all the symptoms needed to make a diagnosis. “She needs structure and firm scheduling, or her anxiety goes up,” Seeley explained.
Emily joined the basketball team as a challenge from her school. It’s turned into a sport that’s brought her not just success but a lot of joy.
A new love for basketball
“I like playing basketball, and playing with my friends,” said Emily, who had played basketball before joining the team, but not competitively. Now it’s her favourite sport.
“I was very excited to win,” she said, adding that the team went out for dinner to celebrate. “Emily wore her medal for a week,” Seeley observed.
Emily will keep playing basketball with the same team next year. Hopefully she’ll walk away with another medal to keep in her jewelry box!