Golden memories for Kessler
Nancy Kessler did it all at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke.
The 23-year-old St. Catharines native not only won gold for Team Ontario in women’s basketball, but also enjoyed her time with the other athletes away from the court.
“It was amazing. I’m always happy because when I look back on my basketball career I learned so many lessons I can apply to my life and I’ve been able to travel to world because of basketball,” the St. Francis graduate said. “It’s nothing but good memories. My parents were able to come on that trip and watch all the games and Sherbrooke was beautiful.
“Whenever we had down time, we saw some soccer and some volleyball with the other athletes so that was real cool to see other athletes shine.”
Kessler is thrilled the 2021 Games are coming to Niagara and even got an inside look as an intern from her Environmental Management and Assessment studies at Niagara College.
“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “It was very exciting to be somewhat part of it because I remember how beneficial and valuable it was as a young athlete. I really did want to help at any part of it for the future athletes.
“They are already involving the community and have facilities set up. That’s amazing to see they are getting new facilities so I think it’s great for this region.”
Kessler, who also has two years of experience with the Junior Women’s National Team in 2014-15, attended the University of Toledo on a basketball scholarship but saw her career end when she was medically disqualified to play basketball by the school’s medical staff midway through the 2015-16 season. She had experienced multiple concussions over the previous two-plus years.
“They put my health first ahead of the team,” she said. “I did have to say goodbye to my potential as an athlete and then I shifted my mindset and that’s where I found a lot of value in being a student assistant coach.”
The experience taught Kessler an important lesson
“Another thing I learned later in my career was to own your role,” she said. “Whatever role you are for that team, whether it’s a starter or coming off the bench, or even just a sub on the bench, just own that because each role is important in the whole team’s success. Every detail matters.”
Kessler, who works as an environmental field technician travelling in Ontario, would love to give back to the game at some point.
“Hopefully once I establish my career and get settled I would like to be more involved in the basketball community again, whether that be coaching, training, refereeing — whatever.”
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