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Balancing life on and off the field

- October 9, 2013

Kristy McGregor-Bales in action against the Cape Breton Capers.
Kristy McGregor-Bales in action against the Cape Breton Capers.

Kristy McGregor-Bales has a lot on her plate. The third-year varsity soccer player has been named one of this year’s co-captains, increased her responsibility on Varsity Council and still finds time to volunteer – and of course attend classes. 

The Ottawa native chose Dalhousie based on its fantastic reputation for academics and the opportunity to move away from home and have the complete university experience. She also chose Dal thanks to its coaching staff.  

In her final year of high school, McGregor-Bales tore her ACL and was sidelined for the season. It couldn’t have come at a more horrible time when most university coaches are doing their scouting for recruitment. Her injury forced a lot of coaches to back away, she says, unsure she’d be fit to play next season. Not Dal’s head coach Jack Hutchison.  

“He knew I was player who could fight through (my injury) and come back stronger than ever,” she says.

This year as co-captain of the soccer team, McGregor-Bales has more responsibility on and off the field. When the team is away on the road, she’s in charge of organizing the soccer balls and jerseys and other behind the scenes necessities. On the field, she’s tasked with getting her teammates excited for each game and pushing them to always play their best. An easy task considering she has the best teammates in the world, she says. 

Along with her co-captain duties, McGregor-Bales has added yet another activity to her to-do list: Varsity Council Executive. Last year she held the position of Varsity Council Rep for the women’s soccer team, but this year she volunteered for the executive when it increased its number of roles. As Vice-president of Community Outreach, McGregor-Bales acts as the point person when all varsity teams come together to host or participate in community activities. She’s helped organize Special Tigers days, like the one this past weekend, where varsity athletes from various teams come together to play sports with children with special needs.

“I really, really enjoy doing it. Even though it is a bit of a time commitment I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she says.

The council is planning to participate in Light The Night Walk, in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada and is planning to have a varsity team compete in Movember, in support of prostate cancer research.   

The recreation management student spent the summer coaching Dunbrack’s Tier 2 A team.  She says it was an opportunity to “inspire girls to continue to play sports, especially soccer.”  She also filled the rest of her free time with summer classes, hoping to get ahead so that she could potentially have a lighter course load in the future, since she plans to stick around for another two years. 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity that the CIS gives you five years of eligibility. It’s something I want to take advantage of,” she says.

As defending AUS champs, the Tigers participated in the national championship last year. McGregor-Bales recalls the entire experience as one of her favourite moments at Dal.

“Learning that we’re right there and that we can compete with the best teams,” she says.

The Tigers had the opportunity to play two-time defending champions, Queen’s University in their first game of last year’s championship. Though they lost, McGregor-Bales says it was still a great experience and made it even sweeter when they rebounded the next day, defeating Cape Breton 1-0. The only goal was scored by McGregor-Bales herself, which doesn’t happen too often, she says, thanks to her position as a back. The Tigers then went on to defeat Sherbrooke with a goal in the last ten minutes of play and walked away with the fifth spot.

As for McGregor-Bales’ outlook on the rest of the Tigers current season, she says the team still has a few things to put in place before they reach their full potential. With only four games remaining before playoffs, it’s going to really tough and tight, she says.

“It’s really competitive and anyone can win on any given day,” she says. 

Aside from playing for Dal, McGregor-Bales also plays for the Halifax Dunbrack club team.  The team, which includes other members from the Dal soccer team, will represent Nova Scotia at the 2013 SportChek Senior National Championship this Thanksgiving weekend.  For the last two weeks, Dunbrack players have been joining the Tigers at practice in order to prep for the games and eliminate the need to add extra practices to the girls’ already hectic schedules.

McGregor-Bales and the rest of team Nova Scotia will play five games in six days against the top-rated amateur soccer teams from across the country. The winner will walk away with the Jubilee Trophy on October 14th

When the soccer season ends in mid-November, you’ll be able to find McGregor-Bales at other varsity games as part of the promotions staff or on Wickwire Field, getting as many touches on the ball as she can. 

 


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