Audio Soundscape: Celine Quigley

The interview below is with University Women’s Basketball player Celine Quigley. In this interview, she provides her own unique experiences and perspectives while living and playing basketball in Northern BC.

References for Audio Interview

Track: Ikson – Throwback

Music Provided by Ikson®

Music can be found here:

Track: Ikson – Buddy

Music Provided by Ikson®

Music can be found here:

Print Assignment

The Road of a Northern Athlete

A close up of a volleyball after an outdoor session with the volleyball team at a local park. (Rutherford, 2021)

On the road again…

Six hours, eight hours, twelve hours, and fifteen hours. What do those numbers have in common? That was the distance that I had to travel for sports tournaments or even sometimes just one or two games. That was not limited to just my sports either; any team in Fort St. John can estimate having to travel at the shortest distance over a two-hour drive to get to any sports competition.

Snowed in

A memorable trip from playing school sports that showcases how unusual it was to be a northern athlete was in my grade ten year of high school. The volleyball season was in the wintertime, so the conditions were often not the best to drive in. Our tournament was in Prince George, British Columbia, a six-hour bus ride (in good weather) from our school. The majority of the trip was through a mountain pass where it did not have good cell service. A storm blew into the pass right after our tournament ended, and we ended up staying in Prince George for two extra days cutting into our school week because the road conditions were so bad and there were extreme avalanche warnings.

Travelling through the Pine Pass with walls of snow surround us, taller than our vehicle. (Rutherford, 2020)

Overcoming challenges in order to meet opportunities

This is just some of the things that were the norm within our lives as a northern athlete. We miss a lot of schooling from the travelling we must do to get to competitions. Also, since most of us played multiple sports, that lead to even more missed school. This was a serious concern for the players who wanted to play on the next level for sports; they needed athleticism and academics. In the United States only 3.9% of girls transition from high school to university volleyball (NCAA, 2020). In comparison, Canada has a much smaller population but that percentage is still quite low. When I speak to my friends looking back on playing sports in the past, we were thankful for those challenges because they prepared us for what university was like. Even more so for the people who continued playing sports where they would have two practices a day along with gym sessions.

No gym space? No problem. Being in the north prepared us to push ourselves and be ready to roll with the punches as they came. Once their ‘season’ of sport was done for most kids, there was no place for them to practice because our indoor sports facilities were limited to school gyms. So people had to look outward, literally. My family ended up building an outdoor volleyball court so the volleyball teams could practice in the summer, and the kids who were trying to get scouted could continue working and improving themselves.

A close of the beach court built at my house, after a session with the volleyball team. (Rutherford, 2021)

“First we just wanted to create a fun area for the summertime. But we saw that there was a lot of interest in the court. So we opened it up to the local girls to come play and practice.”

Ken Rutherford (Kathryn’s Dad)

Many athletes also found they needed to move to different areas to go to training facilities to get the resources they needed. For example, Celine Quigley, whose interview is shown down at the bottom of the article, frequently travelled to Grande Prairie and Victoria for her to get the training she needed to move onto the following levels of her sport.

Behind the scene of a basketball shot. (Rutherford, 2021)

The end of the road, or the start of the journey. But even though all these obstacles we have faced as northern athletes like travel, missing school, no gym space, not even opportunities, it has provided us with a different aspect of what hard work is. We have known what it was like for us to push ourselves past the limits to keep up with the bigger city teams. We know what it is like to sacrifice aspects of our lives in order to make it to that next level we have dreamed about. My advice for any younger athletes in northern communities is not to give up because you can make it if you want it bad enough.


NCAA. (2020, April 16). Estimated probability of competing in college athletics. Retrieved from

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