Badminton is the sport of choice in the Sheppard family. It has afforded Clyde and his daughters, Samantha and Krista, many opportunities in life, and in turn, many successes.
The sport has also gained the trio entry into the Lasalle Secondary Sports Hall of Fame. Last year, Clyde, a former teacher and coach at the school, was inducted in the builder category. This year, his daughters joined him in the team category.
The Sheppard girls, who won a gold medal in womens doubles badminton at OFSSA in 2000, were one of five teams inducted into the New Sudbury school's sports hall of fame this year. The induction ceremony was part of the school's 50th anniversary reunion, which took place July 13-16.
"This is a really big honour," Samantha said. "We came from a really small town (Levack) to come to Lasalle to bring the sport we were so passionate about here. In Krista's last year of high school, to win OFSSA was kind of just the icing on the cake."
While they were happy to share their induction with their father, they were saddened that one of their coaches, Dennis Dionne, who passed away earlier this year from cancer, wasn't able to be there to witness the achievement.
"He'd be really proud of us," Krista said. "It would have been really big for him to see this."
Clyde said "it's amazing for them to be recognized in this way."
"When Krista came into Grade 9 (at Levack), it was a school of less than 300 and we had a great badminton program there. But we could never host anything, we weren't big enough."
The move to Lasalle Secondary allowed the Sheppards to grow in the sport, both as athletes and coaches, culminating with the OFSSA gold medal in 2000.
After high school, Samantha went on to play at Cambrian College for two years.
"The first year, we narrowly missed going to nationals — we came second at provincials," she said. "My last year, I had the opportunity to play at nationals, and my partner and I placed third. That was a big thing for me, too."
As for Krista, she continued her badminton career at Western University, where her team won the OUA championship one of the two years she played.
"I've been playing and coaching since then and still go to tons of tournaments around the north," she said.
And both girls have returned to their alma mater, at some point, to take up the reins as coach of the badminton squad.
"Lots of our athletes have actually gone on to do very well," Krista said. "One of the athletes I coached two years ago actually won a bronze medal at OFSSA as well, so ... I feel like I've had a little part of the continuing success of the badminton program at Lasalle."
"It's always nice to give back to the sport that you took from in high school," Samantha added.
This is the third class to be inducted into the Lasalle Sports Hall of Fame.
"About two years ago, we got together to develop the idea of celebrating our history," Dennis Gauthier, program leader of sports at Lasalle, said.
The first year, athletes who had played at the national level in the sport they played at Lasalle were put up on the wall, located just outside the school's gymnasium. The second year, it was the builders — those who had been at the school for a considerable amount of time and built up a program that had achieved some level of success and have since retired, Gauthier explained.
This year it was teams that had won a medal at the provincial level. In the school's 50-year history, 11 teams have achieved that success, however, only five of them were inducted this year.
"Down the road, we will induct the other six teams," Gauthier said.
Next year, Gauthier said the class of inductees will likely include members from each of the three categories.
The teams inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame this year included: the 1982 senior boys basketball team, OFSSA bronze; the 1990-91 cross-country team, boys OFSSA silver and girls OFSSA bronze; the 1990-91 senior girls basketball team, OFSSA bronze; the 2000 girls doubles badminton team, OFSSA gold; and the 2001 boys curling team, OFSSA gold.
Posted by Laurel Myers