Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Kristy Gallagher
- School: University of Victoria
- Sport: Basketball
- Position: Guard
- Year of eligibility: Fourth
- Program: Recreation and Health Education
- Hometown: Sidney, B.C.
1. What attracted you to the University of Victoria?
I grew up on the Island and have always looked up to the Vikes. In high school particularly, I would watch basketball games and think the athletes were the coolest people ever. When I was given an opportunity to train with the team I felt a weird, but perfect, combination of terrified and right at home. Going into university I was unsure about what program I wanted to take, however Victoria is such an active and healthy city that I felt UVic would have a program that fit me. I soon found the Recreation and Health Education program which has been a great academic experience and allowed me to make a few friends who aren’t on my team.
2. What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest athletic achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
It seems impossible to choose a favorite memory, however one of the most recent is our sweep over UBC last season. We have always had a competitive rivalry and this season we won both games for the first time in my career. Our team was meshing really well at this time — the two victories were our 11th and 12th in a row — the atmosphere in the locker room after was unreal and we were chanting our go-to saying of “Gimmedat” and celebrating hard. Our coach walked in and everyone got pretty serious, but after a second, she burst out “Gimmedat” and everyone just lost it. It’s moments like those that make all the sacrifices worth it.
My greatest achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete is being selected as a Canada West Second Team All-Star this year. As amazing as it is to be recognized for all the hard work I put in, I know I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have such an amazing team backing me up. Everyone knew and played their role throughout the season, which allowed us to achieve a higher level of success than I think a lot of people thought we would have this year.
3. Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
I plan to play professionally overseas after I graduate. It will be impossible for me to stop playing competitively right away and I really want to see different parts of the world.
After I play until my body can’t take it anymore, I want to come back to Victoria to be with my family. I hope to be a part of developing girls’ basketball programs in the city and find a way to give back the opportunities that the city gave to me. I think UVic’s Masters of Coaching program would be a perfect fit for me and allow me to achieve my long-term goals of coaching and working in a recreation and athletic setting, but I hope to go on lots of adventures along the way.
4. Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
The two people who have influenced me the most are my high school coach Larry Green, and my grandma.
My grandma convinced me to play basketball by bribing me to try out for my high school basketball team in Grade 9 with a pair of yoga pants, and has given me unconditional love and support ever since. She played when she was young and won the B.C. championships with her club team in 1956. One Christmas she gave me the pendant she got as a medal and I take it on every road trip - it’s become a bit of a superstition.
Larry Green and I have become very good friends over the years. He saw some potential in a chubby Grade 9 kid who could barely dribble a basketball and devoted a large part of his life to help me reach my goals. There is no way to properly thank him for the number of hours he has spent in the gym with me. He is the most selfless person I know and taught me that having a better work ethic than your opponent eventually pays off.
5. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
DeMar DeRozan, 100 per cent.
I’m a Raptors fan and absolutely love his smooth style of play. I have tried to work on a few of his moves and am constantly watching his footwork. When the Raptors were in Victoria for their training camp this year, he took my phone from my hands and recorded a video with Kyle Lowry where I am standing between the two of them. There is a picture from the video up in my team room. I also really admire how he has spoken up about mental health in the sports world. It’s a topic which is finally getting recognition and having role models like him break the stigma will make all athletes more comfortable in speaking up.
6. What is your pre-game ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a game?
I like to be the first one at the gym before a game. I have to get my ankles taped first and just sit for a while after that as I watch my teammates arrive. When I am putting my socks and shoes on, I have to put the left first and then the right. I like to do this all the time but if I mess up on a game day, I will actually take my shoes off and put them back on again. I may be crazy, but my feet don’t feel right if I do it wrong. I also like to be the first one on the court and get my form shots up before anyone else is shooting at the hoop.
7. What’s your go-to song to get pumped up for practice or a game?
I feel like my teammates are tired of this song but “All the Way Up” by Fat Joe and Remy Ma pumps me up all the time. I heard it in a store once and got a weird burst of adrenaline. The song plays every game before we introduce our starters and I now associate it with game time. As a team we listen to Drake a lot. I don’t have my own playlist I listen to before games though, because our in-game DJ (Preppy Paul) is the best and knows what we want to hear.
8. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
Any account that posts memes regularly.
9. If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
I would try rowing because I have a lot of friends that row and they seem to enjoy it. Personally, I don’t think I would handle the 4 a.m. wake up time well, but it’s worth a shot.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you as an athlete?
There isn’t a specific moment, but every single picture taken at basketball games is horrific. I guess it’s just my face because there are no good action shots of me. Whenever they use a picture of me with the game summary, I am torn between being honored and embarrassed at the number of chins.