In the midst of a season that results in far more losses than victories, by far, it is often fair to question what exactly motivates athletes who persist and who push themselves to the limit of their capabilities in the process.
Cambrian men’s basketball guard Eric Lavergne-Giroux provides an answer, one that is indicative of the mindset with which he approached his countless sporting endeavours at Collège Notre-Dame, and is replete with family ties.
“It goes back to when my dad was considering applying for the coaching job a couple of years ago,” recalled Lavergne-Giroux. “Deep down, I really wanted him to coach, so that I would have an excuse to play basketball for one more year.”
Now 23 years of age, the only Golden Shield player to currently exceed ten points per game (he sits 25th in the league at 14.8 ppg) was a key cog in the 2009 city championship winning team at CND, a squad that fell in the final in the two ensuing years, before Lavergne-Giroux left to pursue his studies at Laurentian University.
Undersized by university standards, but with an ability to draw on every last ounce of natural talent, he would come face to face with the stark reality that is OUA basketball. “I always wanted to play basketball at Laurentian,” said Lavergne-Giroux.
“I tried out, but got cut; it was really tough the first few years. I couldn’t watch a single high school game, university game. But in the end, everything happens for a reason.”
Graduating from Laurentian with his H BCom last June, Lavergne-Giroux would finally enjoy a little “basketball kharma,” as his father (Luc) prepared for a second year at the helm of a Cambrian crew that did not taste victory in his first year with the team.
“It was always in the back of my mind, and over the summer, everything lined up perfectly, work-wise,” said Lavergne-Giroux. Working anywhere from 25-35 hours a week from home, the energetic student of the game was able to squeeze in some additional classes at Cambrian, while filling the few remaining hours with basketball practice times, and games, both at home and on the road.
“Some people take a year off and go travel,” he said. “I’m still working, and I decided to have a little bit of basketball fun for the last time in my life.” Fun might not be the word that first jumps to mind when you consider that he and his team mates sport a record of 1-8 heading into the second half of the OCAA schedule, having been outscored 862-602 so far this year.
“Nobody expects us to go out there and win a lot of games,” acknowledged the very grounded young man. “As long as we play the whole forty minutes, that we compete, that’s all that I am looking for.”
There are glimpses that Lavergne-Giroux and his teammates who forge ahead will cling to, not the least of which was a huge 102-99 overtime upset win over the Redeemer Royals in November.
“There are moments, throughout a game, where we play extremely well,” stated Lavergne-Giroux. “We keep up with a team for one quarter, but then the next quarter, we get blown away.”
That statement may sound discouraging, but not when the approach is far more “big picture”, as the Sudbury native is prone to take. “It gives me some closure,” said Lavergne-Giroux with a smile. “I can move on with the rest of my life, knowing that I did something that I’ve always wanted to do.” And who needs any more motivation than that?