What Deanna Tuchscherer learned playing basketball in Hungary
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Good Morning!
My power didn’t go out during the big storm the other day. This is big news. My power used to always go out. But that storm made me realize: my lights haven’t gone dark without warning in months. Months! This is a frequent occurrence in life. We notice when sirens start to dominate the soundtrack of our neighbourhoods. But when they go away, we forget. I wonder when that will happen with the pandemic. We will eventually take for granted all the things we dearly miss right now. It will happen not because we’re flawed, but because we are human. I just hope we can cling to our appreciation for a little bit. —Tyler Olsen, managing editor
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Deanna Tuchscherer (left) found her perfect pandemic basketball team in Hungary. 📸  Courtesy Deanna Tuchscherer
A UFV basketball player finds a perfectly imperfect pandemic team—in Hungary

The pandemic has forced many people into new territories. Take Chilliwack’s Deanna Tuchscherer. She expected this to be the second year of her university sports career. Instead, this winter she found herself in Hungary, lining up on a basketball court against some of the top players in the world. And, yes, losing against those players. But, more importantly, playing against those players.

In her first season with the UFV Cascades, Tuchscherer was honoured as the best rookie in her conference and one of Canadian college basketball’s best players, period. But as it became apparent last fall that the pandemic was likely to derail the 2020-21 season, Tuchscherer—with the support and help from Kayli Sartori, a UFV coach and a former pro herself—found a place to play in Hungary, in one of the most competitive basketball leagues in the world.

She joined a team full of young players and immediately made an impact, starting most games and holding her own in a league dominated by older players. And playing against teams that compete at the highest level of European basketball caused the 20-year-old to reconsider where the game she loves might take her in the future.

"It definitely made me re-evaluate some of my goals. Maybe I can even set my goals a little bit higher," she told The Current recently.

The experience left her imagining what it would be like to play on a team that competes in EuroCup, a competition reserved for the best European teams. Several Hungarian teams compete in EuroCup. Tuchscherer’s team, ZTE NKK, very much did not. In fact, ZTE NKK lost every one of its 22 games during her season in Hungary. But Tuchscherer says the struggle was part of what made the experience so valuable.

"It was honestly probably good for me to go through because I haven’t had to deal with that sort of thing before. That’s also kind of why it was the perfect opportunity for me this year. It was kind of like the ideal team, even though it wasn’t perfect all the time.

"There’s quite a few WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) players that go and play in that league. But our team definitely didn’t have one of those players. For the most part, our team was quite young and less experienced than the majority of the teams we played against. But I think that was part of what made it kind of the perfect team, because I was able to go in there and play a lot against all these really, really good players. That’s something I don’t think I would ever be able to experience any other way."

Early on, Tuchscherer and her teammates knew the season would be tough. And as the losses mounted, the definition of success changed. By the end of the year, ZTE NKK started really competing. In the team’s final game, they lost by 4 points. It wasn’t a win. But winning isn’t always the only thing.

"When I first looked at some of the rosters when I got there, it was kind of intimidating," Tuchscherer said. "But once you actually get in those games, it was neat to reflect on that. Obviously those are real talented players but they’re still human and it’s not like it felt uncomfortable playing in those situations… So that was neat to see, to be able to compete against those players and learn from them and watch how they do things.

"To be able to reflect on [the season] and know I did that and accomplished that… it was kind of cool."

-By Tyler Olsen

The Floor Is Yours: What have you learned about yourself during the last year?
Need to Know
🛌 The province has bought the former Travelodge Hotel in Chilliwack to house those with no homes. [BC Government]

🎖 An Abbotsford man who donated his kidney to a customer of his hot-dog stand has received a prestigious Rotary award. [Abbotsford News]

🐻 An (adorable) orphaned black bear cub has been spotted in Abbotsford. [Critter Care Wildlife Society]

🔥 Progress has been made in the fight against 2 Harrison-area wildfires. [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

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The use of wood-burning fireplaces in the summer is banned in Langley, but not the rest of the valley. 📸  rawf8/Shutterstock
The Agenda
Langley residents won’t be able to use their wood fireplaces until September, Metro Vancouver has decided. In an effort to improve air quality for residents, the board has put a seasonal indoor burning bylaw in place across the Metro region, which includes Langley. Wood fires are prohibited between May 15 and Sept. 15, although there are some exceptions (if a wood fire is the only source of heat, for example). According to Metro Vancouver, residential wood smoke is the most significant source of fine particulate matter in the region. Abbotsford, Mission, and the rest of the valley are in the Fraser Valley Regional District. The FVRD hasn’t yet banned fireplace use during the summer, although it does have a program encouraging people to trade in their wood-burning appliances for other sources of heat.

Abbotsford secondary school will get 3 more classrooms, while several local organizations will have to move from an attached facility. To address growing enrolment, the school district will spend $600,000 to build 3 new classrooms on the third floor of a wing currently occupied by the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre. The third-floor tenants—Fraser Health, Trinity Western University, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the United Way—will have to find new space after their agreements were not renewed. The lease agreements end this summer. A counselling service will also need a new home. The lower floors of the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre continue to be home to child-care facilities and other programs. When it opened in 2012, officials said it would provide community outreach programs and services, and function as a neighbourhood hub.
COVID latest
Youth aged 12 and older can now register for their first vaccine dose. Meanwhile, the province says that anyone who got vaccinated before April 15 should still register online in order to be contacted for their second dose. Locally, cases are down across the board, aside from a handful of new positive tests in Agassiz. Rates remain high in Abbotsford and Mission, though.  [BCCDC COVID data]

Fraser Health
  • New cases: 335 / 307 average (down 25% from last week)
  • No active outbreaks at hospitals / 1 active outbreak in long-term care
  • School exposures: Abbotsford: 20 / Chilliwack: 4 / Langley: 10 / Mission: 11 / Fraser Cascade: 1
  • Workplace closures (May 18): 2
  • New cases: 521 / 480 average (down 21% from last week)
  • 340 hospitalizations (down 20% from last week)
  • 8 new deaths / 1,658 total
Around Town
🌈 Foundry’s virtual meet up for BC teens and young adults who identify as LGBTQ2S+ takes place every Thursday over Zoom. Register online.

🎸 The Tractorgrease cafe is hosting 2 musicians for 4 concerts on its outdoor patio during the May long weekend. Seating is limited and reservations are required.

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