It was March 2005, and I remember driving back to Halifax from Riverview High School in Cape Breton after we (St. Pats High) had just won our third straight Provincial Championship. On the way home we started talking about how crazy it was that high school was over and how much fun we had over our three years playing together. Obviously, you don’t want something like that to end; you want to cherish those memories for the rest of your life. And that’s where my jersey ritual began. I told myself that I would always wear my St. Pats High jersey under my University jersey because, for me, high school was the last time that I got to play basketball with my childhood friends. So when I chose to attend St.FX University, I made sure to bring my high school jersey. I wore it under my St.FX jersey every game. The games where I didn’t have my jersey, I was rattled. I know it sounds crazy but putting on that jersey made me feel more comfortable and confident, it reminded me that tonight’s game was like every other game.
I’ll never forget suiting up for games at the Metro Centre (now the Scotiabank Centre) because it was a surreal feeling; I grew up wishing for the opportunity to play at the Metro Centre in front of family and friends. When I was a kid, I thought the Metro Centre was as big as it got. Watching St.FX, SMU and DAL play was special to my friends and me because there were guys from our communities on the teams and they were local celebrities to us. Watching St.FX win the National Championship two years in a row was the icing on the cake for me. I made sure that my experiences in the Metro Centre were never taken for granted. In hindsight, I’ve had some big wins in the Metro Centre and some tough losses. However, what made those moments special was the fact that I got to play in front of my family and friends, and rock the jersey that I wore the last time we all played together.
Christain “T-Bear” Upshaw
Halifax, Nova Scotia