HARDCOURT QUARTERBACK: Jen Goldade controlled the tempo at the Jack for five years.
Ryan Laverty/The Gauntlet

Departing hoopster was solid gold

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No regrets. Her career may have had its share of ups and downs but all in all, she had a great time.

Jen "Fireball" Goldade more or less started playing basketball as soon as she shed her after her diapers, picked it up fast and liked it a lot.

"I always knew that I wanted to play university basketball and I always knew that I wanted to play for the national team," she says, even though she also played volleyball and soccer on a competitive level in high school. She was even named female athlete of the year in Grade 12 at Bishop Grandin High School.

Goldade came to the University of Calgary, made the Dinos and after five years she still loves the sport, even though it has deprived her of free time and sleep.

"You have to make a lot of sacrifices but what comes out of those sacrifices are rewards that mean a lot to you. I really get a lot out of it," says the content fifth-year guard. "I learned a lot-especially from my mistakes. I learned a lot about myself, my team and sports."

Looking back at her five years with the Dinos, she singles out her first year, when she was awarded Rookie of the Year for Canada West as one of the greatest achievements. Her second year was shrouded by injury and rehab, but her third and fourth year were very successful. Goldade connects them with extremely positive memories of the team, the transitions the team has made over the years,the seasons and the nationals where they earned silver and bronze respectively.

And what's next? Jen is honest, smiling and not thinking only of sports when she answers that she plans to go to Europe.

"I'd like to play in Spain-that would be so nice. They have really nice beaches and the best leagues are in France, Spain and Italy."

Her plan is to take on this next challenge in her life together with a friend, trying to make it into a European team as a duo. The adjustment to a new country, a foreign language and being so far away from home is easier when you have a friend with you. After that, who knows.

Dinos Head Coach Shawnee Harle encouraged her to go into coaching but the question that arises for Jen is: "Do I really wanna do basketball my whole stinkin' life?

"I have done a lot of coaching during the last years and I really like it," she explains.

Goldade is undecided about basketball in the long-term. Regardless, the horizon is beautiful.

In the meantime, things are calming down and the basketballer now has a chance to reflect.

"I'm really sad to leave the team. You don't even notice it, but the girls become total steadies in your life," she says.

There will be more than a little change without the daily training routine, the games on the weekends, the coaches and the girls but there is calm coming over the red-headed sparkplug. Goldade is ready to move on.

She had a great time, she'll always have the outstanding memories look back. And as she says-"no regrets."