2017Nov 14

Once A Lady Vee, Always A Lady Vee

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Kauri LaFontaine, an alumna from Laurentian University. Kauri graduated from Laurentian in 2010 with a degree in Communications. While completing her degree, she represented the university by playing on the Women’s Varsity Basketball Team. She then attended Durham College to obtain a degree in Project Management. After completing her studies, LaFontaine pursued jobs relating to athletics. She has experience working with the Pan American Games that was held in Toronto in 2015, coaching the basketball team for Durham College, and played an administrative role for Rugby Canada. Now, she is back to where her career started; at Laurentian University. After a need for a change in management of the women’s varsity basketball team, Kauri LaFontaine was up for the challenge. Being introduced to a familiar, yet new, atmosphere plus having the pressure to succeed within one week is not something that every leader can accomplish. However, LaFontaine did.

imagesKauri

To start the interview off, I asked LaFontaine, “what qualities can she bring towards the women’s basketball team?” She stated that her optimism, enthusiasm, and her ability to motivate her athletes by positively criticizing them. She then added that she is the type of coach to “tackle things head on” and try to be as transparent as possible as she believes that there should be no conflict within a team. Since Kauri was introduced to the team one week before the first game of the season, I asked, “what is your strategy in connecting with the Lady Vees?” She responded by stating that she is aware that relationships do take time to form. However, to speed the process, she tries her best to keep an “open door policy.” This means that any player has the opportunity to communicate with her during the day at any time.

Just like any coach within the Ontario University Athletics association, LaFontaine wants to see more wins than loses and ultimately make it to playoffs. However she wants to ensure that this season provides a deeper experience for the athletes. Her philosophy is that she wants to see her players achieve success both on and off the court. In addition, she wants to have a positive season where everyone can feel good with the work, time, and labour that they have put into the team. Ultimately she wants the team to be proud of their effort. Furthermore, she wants every member of the team to enjoy playing basketball again, develop new skills, and have their limitations become their strengths.

I then asked, what she tries to teach her athletes besides basketball. Her response is that she tries to teach her players how to be a good teammate. Not only that, but a good person. Kauri values being cordial especially, during the times of adversity. She believes that his is an intangible skill that is present throughout all aspects of life.

Laurentian Lady Vees Kauri Lafontaine charges down the court during OUA women's basketball action against the Ryerson Rams Friday night on Laurentian's home court. The Lady Vees clinched fourth spot in the OUA East standings after defeating the Rams 74-66. Lisa Furchner lead the team with 26 points and Darrah  Bumstead followed with 21 points and 17 rebounds. The Lady Vees will host an OUA quarter-final against the Rams Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Visit northernlife.ca for results from the game. Photo by Sabrina ByrnesFollowing that question, I asked how she feels coaching for team that she used to play for. She reminisced over the fact that she too stood on the court wearing the same jersey, she too changed in the change rooms representing Laurentian University, she knows exactly how it feels to play in front of a home crowd, she too has experienced everything that this current team is experiencing.

My final question for Kauri LaFontaine whether she can help her team reach new levels of success. Kauri answered by saying that the team has the potential to achieve greatness when every member puts their mind to, and performs as if they can achieve. A glimpse of their potential was demonstrated during the home opener against the University of Waterloo. She carried on to say that as long as we prepare ourselves mentally, focus on what we look like as a team, and remain consistent throughout all the games, there should be no reason as to why we cannot achieve new levels of success.

Considering that Kauri Lafontaine’s presence represents a new beginning, the Laurentian community, along with the competing schools are looking for to what LaFontaine and Laurentian Women’s Varsity Basketball Team has to bring this season.

 

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