Oak Bay High team shoots to eliminate tough opponent

Mom’s health an inspiration

No matter how well they play, this soccer team’s biggest goal won’t be met on the field.

Scoring $10,000 in donations tops the list for the Oak Bay High school’s senior girls soccer team as they tackle the fight against breast cancer heading into a new season where their humanitarian efforts will outshine any glory they experienced on the pitch.

“We have a lot of kids that realized early on, their roles are a lot more than just being a student, especially because they realize how lucky they are to be living where they are living,” said head coach Brent Garraway. “It is a big thing to get involved with different issues, the girls decided this year to step up and do something more than just play.”

Donning pink jerseys and pink socks, the 19 girls on the team ranging from Grade 10 to Grade 12 take to the field with their heads and their hearts on a different prize, none more so than team captain Sabine Boisvert whose mother suffered from the disease as she grew up.

“I was in the eighth grade (when my mother) had breast cancer. She is a survivor of the disease and so it’s important to raise awareness and funds so I can support her being cancer free and going through the battle,” the Grade 12 student said. “That is a cause important to me because of my mother.”

A handful of games into a season that started March 27, they are about 10 per cent of the way to their goal, planning to hit it by the end of soccer season June 1.

They also hope to again be involved in the provincial finals where they took home second place last year.

“We want to place in the top five in B.C. We are a fairly new team this year but our goal is to get into provincials and get into top five and raise awareness around our cause,” Boisvert said.

“Being able to combine the two is amazing and it is nice to have the opportunity to raise money for something my mother had to deal with.”

Having seen her mother endure chemotherapy treatments and the affect it had on her entire family has given her perspective on life, especially now that her mother Cherith has been cancer free for four years. It’s something that also motivates the entire team including teammate Ashley Dukeshire.

“I want to help people out as much as I possibly can and this program is a great way to do it,” she said. “Our team is super, super close. … (A) goal on this team is to create as much friendship as we possibly can, to play for the person next to you.”

While the team lost many of its senior players to graduation last year and is composed of younger players that need to step up and fill the gap, Garraway is already proud of the team’s achievements heading into his 11th year as coach.

“I love it to be a part of anything where they just realize the bigger picture. That is why I do what I do,” he said. “It just makes it that much more enjoyable for me to work with these kids that have that mentality, it is awesome.”