Sep 30, 2015

Name: Darlene Currie
Sport:  Basketball
Position:  Athlete/Coach/Advocate
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Residence: Burnaby, BC

Lifelong athlete and coach reminds us sport should be fun  

In a day and age where athletes dream of playing professional sport or winning Olympic medals, it is often forgotten why children start playing sports to begin with.

When asked how Canadian Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Darlene Currie got her start playing sports, her answer is simple:

“[As a child], you go out and you play. You just play! I never even thought about it leading anywhere. I just wanted to play and have a good time.”

Darlene Currie didn’t start playing sports with scholarships or medals in mind. She grew up as an only child in a small town near Calgary, and throughout her childhood, sports were just “what she did”. Darlene would play whatever sports the seasons allowed—more focused on making friends through sports than where athletics would lead her in life.

“I was fortunate, I think, that I grew up before children began to be identified as potential athletes in certain sports. Today, kids miss out a lot because they are streamlined.”

In 1962, Currie moved to Burnaby, BC to train for the national basketball team, and since, has experienced huge success in sport on the international stage.

With a long history as a high level athlete and coach, Currie represented Canada as a basketball player in three Pan Am Games, competed at the World Games for fastball, was the Canadian national basketball team head coach for three years, and permanently holds a place in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame. Now in her 70s, Currie competes on a slow pitch softball team at the BC 55+ Games.

Currie is also a member of the BC Senior Games Society, where she is Chair of the Rules Committee. Not only is she a strong advocate for a lifelong commitment to sports, she has also advocated for women competing in the BC 55+ Games, working to ensure there are as many opportunities for women as there are for men.      

“I became disenchanted that there were just token females [on a mixed team]. So I put in a request to have a women’s division. I sent a letter around saying let’s ask to have a women’s division, and low and behold: we got it.”

While her list of accomplishments is long and remarkable, it is Currie’s humility and passion that most inspires those around her. BC Senior Games Society colleague, Brooke Campbell says, with all the skill and experience that Darlene has, she remains extremely modest.

“Darlene is one of my favourite people to work with. She is honest, vivacious, and intelligent. She is someone who has an open mind, a solid opinion and a warm heart. Everyone I know respects her opinion.”

A lifetime of playing and coaching at some of the biggest athletic competitions, and Currie can’t always recall the medal awarded or the place she stood on the podium. For her, sports have always been about playing something she loved and making memories with the people around her.

“As the years go along and I think back, I think, did we win or did we lose? I can’t remember. It wasn’t all that important, because I know the people I was with and I still enjoy their company.”

Darlene’s message is simple: Sport is about more than winning medals, it is about doing something that you love, meeting incredible people, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

The Women in Sport Spotlight is a monthly series featuring inspirational female athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and leaders in British Columbia. Visit our Newsroom and follow us on Twitter @ViaSportBC to find the latest edition.