By John DeCoste
Lindsay Harris has meant a lot to Acadia the past four years – but she almost didn’t end up there.
“Despite growing up here, Acadia was never really where I wanted to go,” admits the New Minas native. “I wanted to get away from home, and I had applied to a number of schools, both in Canada and the U.S.”
Then, in her Grade 12 year, her former high school coach at Horton, Bev Greenlaw, was hired as head coach of the Acadia women’s basketball program.
“Coach getting the job here made me take a second look at Acadia,” she said. “That showed me Acadia had the program I wanted, and it would also give me the chance to continue to play with a lot of my high school teammates.”
Harris did choose Acadia, and four years later, is preparing to leave with her degree and a lot of great memories.
It was a season of ups and downs for Harris – she was a first-team all-star, but ended up missing the AUBC playoffs after suffering a serious knee injury, and despite that, was named a second-team all-star at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s basketball awards in Saskatchewan on March 14. It was capped off by receiving the AUS Student-Athlete Community Service Award for women’s basketball.
While at Acadia, Harris has volunteered at local schools, helping out with Kinderskills, school breakfast programs and the WITS anti-bullying campaign.
She has been involved in the Run for the Cure initiative, both as a participant and as a recruiter of other volunteers.
But her favourite – and most fulfilling – volunteer activity was spending the past year fundraising for the Canadian Diabetes Association.
“I’m studying nutrition, and I’ve learned a lot about the disease through that, and my mom works at the Diabetes Clinic at Valley Regional Hospital,” she explained.
“I’ve gotten to be part of summer camps for kids living with Type 1 diabetes, and it’s challenged me to do something more.”
Harris began fundraising for Team Diabetes with the goal of running a marathon at the end of the campaign. Since August, she has raised $3,000.
She was scheduled to run the marathon in Scotland in May, and then she hurt her knee. The good news is that she’s been able to put it on hold for a year.
“I’m going to keep on fundraising, and I’m looking at doing the run sometime in the future, depending on how long my recovery takes,” following surgery on her knee.
Given that she grew up in the shadow of Acadia, Harris said she didn’t feel any extra pressure as a local-area athlete playing a varsity sport for the university. Instead, she found it exciting to know so many people in the community and feel their support.
“Throughout my four years here, I can’t remember a game I played where I didn’t have at least two members of my family and a lot of my friends there watching,” she added.
Coming to Acadia is a choice she’s never regretted.
“Reflecting back on the last four years, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ve been so fortunate,” she said.
“I consider myself very lucky to have had the support of the community and my family, and to have had such a great group of teammates to play with for so long.”
There is no question the low point of Harris’s time at Acadia was the knee injury in mid-February that cost her the remainder of her senior season and a chance at back-to-back AUBC titles.
She also has no trouble pinpointing the high point – Acadia’s AUBC championship in 2012, the first for the Axewomen program in more than 60 years.
“Winning the championship last year was a real highlight. My first two years, we put in the time and effort, but didn’t get the reward in the end. Last year, everything came together. We were able to win the AUS title and got to compete at nationals.”
The injury aside, Harris also has fond memories of the season just past.
“We overcame a lot, but in the end we hit a wall. I’m very proud of the team and how much we were able to accomplish by battling through adversity.”
Harris, who has always wanted to be a dietician, will begin an internship at Valley Regional after she graduates that runs until Christmas. After that, she’ll write a national dietetic exam and hopes to pursue a career in the healthcare field.
See a slideshow of photos of Lindsay Harris in action HERE.