By Lethbridge Herald on December 28, 2023.
By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter-Taber Times
Taber local Kitawna Sparks was named November’s Athlete of the Month at Lethbridge College.
“When I learned I was November’s Athlete of the Month, I felt extremely grateful,” said Sparks. “I’ve had a very good start to this basketball season, and this past month I’ve done very well, as has my team. It will also help motivate me to continue working hard throughout the season.”
Currently in her second year of Business Administration at Lethbridge College, Sparks says that everyone is very supportive.
“The basketball community in Alberta, especially in southern Alberta, brings people together,” said Sparks. “I’ve been playing sports for as long as I can remember. I got into basketball around eighth grade and fell in love with it. I’ve played on many teams with many coaches and have been given incredible opportunities because of this sport. Throughout my years of playing, I’ve made friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. I feel like I’m entering a completely new world every time I pick up a basketball. No matter how serious the problems were, they would all simply vanish. Whatever the situation was, it would always be the thing I would love to do. Basketball and the community will always have a big impact on my life.”
Sparks says that her family, which includes her son, has always been her biggest support. Her dad, Sparks says, really encouraged her to play basketball again last year after she had taken two years off of sports and school due to having her son. Without her dad, Sparks says, she wouldn’t be playing now and she believes her family is proud of her accomplishments, as they push her to work even harder.
Although Sparks is not sure what her plans are after college yet, she still has three years of playing eligiblity left and is extremely hopeful for the road ahead.
“I am extremely hopeful for the road ahead for my team. I think we have a really good shot at making it all the way to nationals,” said Sparks. “As long as we stay focused and continue working hard in practice, we will be able to achieve that goal. We have a lot of talented girls on our team and an amazing coaching staff that helps us as well. For myself, I feel good that my performance will improve and help me keep being a key part of the team. I would advise anyone who wants to take up basketball that they must be mentally tough. Playing can be very draining, both mentally and physically. Injuries, life, and personal matters due to playing can factor in and make you want to quit, but you need to just keep pushing forward. Another piece of advice I would give is that you can’t practice enough. You can continue to get better and learn new things. If you want to be successful, you have to put in the work to back it up. My life motto comes from a quote from Kobe Bryant: ‘Dedication makes dreams come true.’ Hard work will always outweigh talent, and you always need to keep working if you want to experience success.”