Chris Critelli launches book
A packed room Sunday at the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club Sunday emphasized the impact Chris Critelli has had on the local, national and international basketball scene.
In front of former players, teammates, coaches , friends, family and acquaintances, the Canada Basketball, Ontario Basketball and St. Catharines sports hall of fame member officially launched her book That’s My Coach.
“It is a big day and you were part of it,” the 62-year-old St. Catharines native said. “You read the first manuscript and you encouraged me. You said it was a good read but it was going to be a lot of work. I didn’t mind working hard because that’s what I do.”
The former women’s basketball head coach and assistant athletic director at Brock came up with the concept for the book about 10 years ago.
“After I conceptualized it, I wasn’t sure I would even do it,” she said. “About two and half years ago when I started to write, I was enjoying the process, but it took a little longer because I did everything myself and I didn’t want to do it during my golf season.”
Not only did the 1976 Olympian (at the age of 17) write the book, she also published it herself.
Her original concept closely mirrored the final product.
“It was having each of my coaches as a chapter and then writing the stories and the lessons I learned,” she said. “After reading the book over and over and sort of changing the format and drawing up the lessons in a little bit more detail, the concept was the same but the final draft was very different.”
The book has two main themes. It tells the stories of Critelli’s playing and coaching career with Denis Morris, Canada’s national team, Old Dominion, Laurentian, the Chicago Hustle of the Women’s Professional Basketball League and Brock University. It also imparts life and coaching lessons.
“We all know that the sport is a metaphor for life and we all learn skills that follow you and I don’t care if you are a writer, a journalist, a doctor or a basketball player,” she said. “You have a skill set and one of the lessons is after you have developed your skills, you have to start making good decisions.
“Sometimes we go through life and make bad decisions.”
Critelli’s life revolved around basketball but the lessons she learned impacted every facet of her life.
The only player in history to win both an NCAA and CIS championship laughed when asked whether playing and coaching basketball was harder than being a writer.
“I was a good basketball player and a coach but I am not sure if I am a good writer yet.”
Starting Monday, the book will be available at lulu.com. Those interested should search for the book’s title on the website. Cost is $20 plus tax.