Peter Kugba-Nyande

Welcome to the second post in Humans of Queen E, a space where teachers, students, and alumni can share their stories and experiences in a judgement-free, welcoming environment. Peter is a Grade 12 student at Queen E and is in the school’s senior basketball team. He has been playing basketball ever since grade 10, and despite starting off not too long ago, Peter is known by his coaches and classmates for being an amazing player. He always works his hardest to lift up  everyone around him, and put his team first. To be as dedicated and skilled at something the way Peter is at basketball, there has to be something he is inspired by. According to Peter, his inspiration to start playing basketball and to continue devoting his time and effort to the game, came from the people around him.

“Friends, family, coaches. I owe it all to them. Cause I hated the game at first. Hated it. But the coaches made me love it, like Coach Mosen and Killips. My parents too, especially my dad – cause I like soccer, but he was like ‘give basketball a try’. My friends, especially my friend Niph. He really pushed me. I’ll be sleeping at 6 am and he’ll call me like, ‘hey, let’s go to the park and shoot some hoops.’ Yeah, since these people inspired me to play I always make sure to not let them down and make them all proud.”

All players have different ways of getting ready before a game. It can be overwhelming to  deal with the pressure and nerves that come with knowing you will soon have to show your skills in front of a huge crowd. When asked how he deals with this pressure and how he gets ready before a game, Peter says he focuses on clearing his mind and making sure all his attention goes to the ball and his team. 

“Games can be pretty tense so you gotta block everything out. It’s just you, your team mates, the other team and the basket. That’s all that matters. Like sometimes crowds can get really wild and then that tension hits you and you panic. So you know, just stretch, shoot a hoop or two. After that, just zone out everybody else. Only me, my teammates and the ball. They’re the only people I listen to.” 

Basketball is a time consuming sport when taken seriously, and it needs serious devotion and commitment. For many, it can have a huge effect on their academic performance. Interestingly, Peter believes basketball has impacted his overall school performances positively.

“Basketball has actually helped me a lot in that aspect. Cause I’m not like a top, A student; I’m more of a B+. But because of basketball, I’ve had a few college coaches ask me to try out – like, there’s this one coach from the University of Toronto that wants me to go play for the junior team. So yeah, it’s helped a lot with things like university and my career.”

Finally, when asked what basketball means to him, Peter didn’t hesitate when replying. 

“Basketball is everything to me. It’s not always easy and it definitely all comes down to perseverance and hard work, but it all pays off in the end. Like, I remember one time where we were losing by 15 points and I was so mad. I was so mad. And it wasn’t just  me, it was my whole team. But I had to remind myself that those people were my family and we gotta hold each other together so we can pull through. It’s tough, man, and it’s definitely not always gonna be chill, but honestly at the end of the day, that’s all it’s really about. Pulling through despite whatever difficulties you may be going through. It’s not always easy, but you just push through and persevere. Basketball taught me to persevere through the challenges in life. Basketball helped strengthen a lot of my relationships with people. Basketball is what I’m aiming to do in the future as well, you know, I have a few high profile basketball coaches and recruiters with their eyes on me.”

We can’t wait to see Peter continue to shine in his basketball career when he leaves Queen E. In the meantime, we’re very excited to have him play with our Queen Elizabeth Knights. 

For more stories about Queen E students, staff, and alumni, keep an eye on The Knight’s Post every Wednesday. As well, make sure to follow Queen E on Instagram at @queenelizabethhs 

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