By Adam McDougall, St. Thomas University Journalism
Daniel Keripe is a very committed two-sport athlete. He comes from a loving family who want nothing but the best for their children. Daniel has grown as a student-athlete and a leader throughout his time here and this is his story.
I’m from Manchester, England. I was originally born in Ireland, but moved to Manchester when I was pretty young. From there, I moved to Canada with my family for the start of my Grade 6 year, in 2013. Growing up in England, I would definitely hear some stereotypes about Canadians. A few of them even ended up being true. Everyone here is super nice, and it is super cold here. Those were the ones that turned out to be true, but the stereotypes about polar bears, not so much. Even though I knew the stereotype about people being nice, I really didn’t expect the people here to be so welcoming. In England, I find the people to be not always as accepting as Canadians are.
The best part about New Brunswick is the fact that it’s pretty small. Compared to England at least, it’s a pretty small place, so I find that I seem to know a lot of people – I recently spent a couple days in Fredericton with some friends I have there. We shot around and played basketball, and also just hung out, so that was pretty nice. Because of the size of New Brunswick, I know that I’ll know someone pretty much everywhere I go, which is really neat.
I started playing basketball at the beginning of Grade 7, but I have played soccer my entire life. Back in England, soccer is obviously super popular, so I basically started playing soccer as soon as I started walking. Soccer is actually my first sport, and I recently committed to play soccer at Queen’s University in Ontario.
I think that playing both soccer and basketball has helped me in both sports. In basketball, I’m a guard or a forward, and in soccer, I’m a striker. Certain concepts in each of the two sports help me improve in the other. Because I play both sports, I see both games differently than others who play it. Things like seeing the bigger picture in basketball games is something that has come to me easily because I play soccer. I have also learned to see the court in ways my opponents don’t because I can play a little bit differently than everyone else does.
Being a two-sport athlete definitely has its difficulties. Attendance can sometimes be an issue – and that’s probably the biggest issue I’ve had playing soccer and basketball. I always want to keep both sets of coaches happy, but its almost impossible to avoid occasionally missing practices. For this reason, communication with coaches is key. I just try to make sure that my coaches know where I am all the time, because if they know where I am and what I’m doing, they’ll hopefully be happy. It is hard for me when I have to miss practices and team events, though.
My goal this year for basketball is to win a national championship, which is a real possibility with the team we have. I think winning a national championship would be huge not only for our RNS basketball program, but for all of basketball in New Brunswick. I just want to prove that basketball doesn’t only exist in Ontario. I want to prove that we – New Brunswick – can compete with the best of the best and prove that athletics doesn’t always have to revolve around Ontario.
My basketball idol is Kevin Durant. I try to model my game around him. His pull-up shooting, and the way he’s able to handle the ball – especially at his height – are things I try to emulate. My soccer idol is probably Messi. He’s definitely one of the best. He does everything really well, and he’s a quiet leader. That’s to say that he is not a very vocal leader, but he is a lead-by-example kind of leader. In some ways, my leadership style is similar to his. I find I don’t talk as much, but I do try to lead by example as much as I possibly can. I don’t have as much experience as everyone else on the court because I started a little later than almost everyone else, but I try as much as I can to lead by example.
My biggest academic accomplishment was passing Grade 11. That was a pretty big challenge for me, just in terms of all the changes and the stress of high school. I found it difficult to get over any bad tests that I had, but I was able to get over everything in the end and finish off the year strong. Having the strength to get through that year was definitely an accomplishment that I could be proud of. Through the challenges I faced in Grade 11, I learned to be persistent and to never give up. I learned that no goal is ever too big, and as long as you put your mind to it, you can really accomplish any goal that you set your eyes on.
My favourite subject in school is biology. I’m planning to continue learning about biology by taking sciences in university. Human Physiology – how the body works – interests me the most in that kind of field. Being an athlete is definitely a big reason why I want to learn more about the body and how it works, as my teammates and I are always trying to push our bodies so they can be the best they can be.
Outside of school and sports, I love playing board games. I’m a big board games type of person, really. I play chess and checkers a lot with my parents, and I love to play Monopoly and games like that. My favourite one is definitely chess, though.