Susan Ames Vogelaar (University Transfer 1965)
The photo in the winter issue of the college magazine, Wider Horizons, brought back my memories of playing for the Lethbridge Junior College Cubs in 1964 and 1965. After graduating from Matthew Halton High School in Pincher Creek, I enrolled in the university courses which were held in the north end of the college, registered in the Education program, and then tried out for the basketball team.
Four girls from Pincher Creek made the team, and the rest of the team was made up of players from our Southern High School zone. Players from the university and the college programs at the college were on the team. Some were rivals and it was odd to suddenly be passing the ball and working with team members who we formerly played against. I played guard and Arlene from LCI was our centre. During the first few practices it gave me an uneasy feeling passing to her, but our team clicked after numerous practices and games. We did well, and in the process, bonded with each other. Anne Hashizume was our coach and we played in the Alberta College League. Keeping up our marks was necessary, which was a challenge when we often travelled on the weekend and practised twice a week.
Travelling by a bus owned by Steve Koch was an experience like no other. The old bus would break down along the highway and on the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, which added to the league travel experiences. Playing cards at a roadside garage until the wee hours of the morning, while the bus was being fixed, was just another adventure.
We did not receive the acclaim and news coverage that the men’s team received. Often there would be a long column in the paper including the details of their game, and if we were lucky, we would receive a tiny paragraph about our wins. We didn’t focus on that because we all loved the game and put our efforts into each game, wanting to do our best whether we lost or won.
I went on to play for the University of Calgary as a point guard and we won the Western Canadian University Championship. After beginning my teaching career, I played for years in a senior ladies league in southern Alberta. I coached Matthew Halton’s High School junior boys’ team, and the junior and senior varsity ladies’ team. My sons and my daughters also played for Matthew Halton. I still love the game and now I get to watch one of my granddaughters play, and I must admit I can’t help quietly coaching from the sidelines.
Susan Ames Vogelaar graduated from the university program offered at Lethbridge Junior College in 1965 and went on to earn her two-year diploma in education from the University of Calgary in 1967. She finished her degree in Education and her Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria as she continued teaching. In 1982, she started teaching in the Academic Upgrading program in the off-campus program. She started teaching on campus in 1999 through her retirement in 2008. Today, she is active in the Pincher Creek community. She and her husband Jake, who celebrated their 50th anniversary in December, are avid paddlers and travellers.
If you’d like to share your own Lethbridge College recollection, email your 300-word story to WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca or call editor Lisa Kozleski at 403-320-3202 ext. 5778.