The athletic “tug of war” over Ariane Saumure has already begun. An exceptional talent in most every sport she has entered, the 14 year old grade eight student at Ecole Elementaire Macdonald-Cartier has turned heads particularly in both basketball and soccer, though her running skills lag not far behind at all.
The foundation was established with an initial involvement in both soccer and gymnastics, pretty much from the age of three or four, building the strength and stamina that would be key to her current success.
Ironically, competitive soccer and basketball both came into the mix at roughly the same time. “I was about eight years old, and (soccer coach) Marilyn Bodson approached us about playing,” said Saumure. “From then on, I just kept playing, and I really love it.”
Twelve months later, her sporting repertoire would grow. “A year after gymnastics was done, I started with Valley East Youth Basketball and with the Jam the same year,” she said. “I wasn’t very good at first.”
“I was crazy with the ball, just chucking it up at the back board,” Saumure continued. “It wasn’t very pretty. After a couple of practices, once coach John (Desormeaux) taught me how to dribble the ball properly, I was good.”
While both sports capitalize fully on just how fleet of foot the well-spoken teenager is, the roles that Saumure plays in each are markedly different. As a striker with the GSSC U14 Impact, she is a natural goal scorer, with a keen sense for the net.
In basketball, her role reverts to more of a floor general. “I’m a point guard with speed and quickness,” stated Saumure. “I can get up and down the floor, and I have a lot of stamina, so I can play the full 32 minutes.”
Still, playing up a year with the Sudbury (SYBA) U15 Jam, Saumure is often among the team’s leading scorers, still finding her comfort zone between playmaking and shooting. “If I have an open lane, I’ll take it,” she said.
“If they are zoning us, I won’t drive when they key is crowded. Sometimes I make the mistake of passing too much when it’s not time, or taking the drive or the shot when it’s not there.” The eldest child in a typical hockey family – younger brother Samuel has played “AAA” hockey the past two years – Ariane veered quickly away from the national sport.
“I went out to two practices with my dad,” she recalled. “I had all my equipment on and a kid ran into me, and I fell. It just kind of scared me and upset me, and I never wanted to go back.” Clearly, hockey’s loss is a gain for basketball and soccer – but which of the two in the end?
“I love both equally, and in the long run, it will be a very hard decision to let go of one of the sports then, and keep going in the other,” suggested Saumure. “By grade 12, I will have to make the decision.”