By Adam McDougall, St. Thomas University Journalism
Javier Azagra is a Grade 12 boarder at Rothesay Netherwood School. He came to Rothesay with his family and earned a spot on our team as a walk-on which was no easy task. In his time with us, Javier has carved a very important role on this team as a key offensive contributor. Javier is a strong academic who has a passion for learning. This is his story!
I’m originally from Barcelona, Spain. I came to Canada four years ago, when I was in Grade 9. My dad works for Repsol – for the Irving’s – they moved him here, and the rest of my family and I came with him. My Dad moved back to Barcelona this year, along with the rest of my family. I’m just here alone now.
I was kind of shocked when they told me I was going to move to Canada, because we had already moved three times within Spain, again because of my Dad’s work, but when they told me we were moving to Canada, it was a big “oh my God” moment for me. It was something completely new and unexpected. But I was excited, and I’m glad that we moved here. I love it here now. Canada is like my second home.
I’m coping pretty well with not having my family here. I enjoy it here more, to be honest. Lately, I’ve become a lot closer with my teammates. We all live together, and I feel like the whole year has been a great experience – not only with my teammates, but with the whole school as well.
The biggest difference between Canada and Spain is definitely the culture. People are nice here. Obviously, people are nice in Spain, too, but there is a difference in the people and culture in general, one that is difficult to describe.
I’ve been playing basketball since I was around six years old, with different clubs from back home, and because I’ve played in Canada and Spain, I’ve noticed a difference in basketball culture and style between the two countries. In Canada, the style is definitely based in the athleticism of the players. The people here are bigger, faster, and stronger than they are in Spain, but in Spain, the style is more elegant and flashier. Here, if you’re physically big, you immediately have an advantage, but it's not quite like that in Spain. There, basketball is more skill-based as opposed to physicality-based.
I’m a shooting guard, and my biggest strength is shooting. I think my ability to shoot the ball adds a lot to the team, really. The area of my game that I’m trying to improve on is my defense. I’m always trying to improve when it comes to my defense. I know that it’s my weakness, so most of the goals that I have revolve around becoming a better defender.
I don’t think that I will try to play basketball in the future. Instead, I’m going to focus on my studies. I’m currently planning on going to St. Francis Xavier University and taking chemical engineering while I’m there. I have always really liked learning about the sciences – except for biology. I have always been really passionate about physics and chemistry, and my Dad – being a chemical engineer himself – has helped me develop that passion over the years. To be honest, I have always liked learning, but my Dad helped me further that passion. This year I’m taking physics and chemistry through the IB curriculum, and I really enjoy it.
My favourite part about playing basketball is the bond I have with my teammates. I love every single one of my teammates, and I enjoy every minute that I spend with them on the court. I love every game and every practice (except the occasional 6:00am practice), and that love is due to the fact that I’m with my teammates. I truly love my teammates, and both of my coaches. My teammates and my coaches are really like a second family for me, to be honest.
RNS is definitely helping me achieve the goals I have set for myself, and the school has helped me achieve all the goals I have set over the last four years. I’ve really achieved all the goals that I’ve had while I have been here, so there’s not much more that I can ask for. It has been a great experience for me while I’ve been here. They’ve helped me in the past, and put me in a position to succeed in the future. Other than what RNS has already done, there’s nothing more that I – or anyone else – could really ask for.