Lisa Gooding Bontkes receiving the Volleyball BC coach of the year award in 2018. (Submitted photo)

Playing on 1988 Ballenas boys basketball squad shaped future for Lisa Gooding Bontkes

Where are they now? Former Parksville high school athlete went into teaching and coaching

Lisa Gooding Bontkes made headlines in the PQB News in 1988 for being the only girl on the boys basketball team at Parksville’s Ballenas Secondary — an experience she said set the tone for the rest of her life.

“Our senior girls team folded in Grade 12; myself and another girl were going to change schools,” she said. “I was a bit of an anomaly at the time, sports was my life and I was devastated when basketball was cancelled.”

Instead of leaving Ballenas, Bontkes tried out for the boys team — and made it.

“We were the first basketball team to make provincials, our team did the best in Ballenas history as far as basketball goes,” she said over the phone from Langley, where she now lives. “But I wasn’t allowed to play at the provincials.

“I always had to change in the toilet stall and wait for them all to finish changing because the other team was always in the other change room during games.”

Bontkes said her teammates was supportive throughout the season, adding “the guys on my team made it pretty easy.”

In the 1988 article, Bontkes said she wishes there was a girls team because she said she would see more floor time.

“I get comments like ‘Butch,’ but I just ignore them. Some players are lenient on me. It all depends on the team. In all, most are pretty good about it,” said 17-year-old Bontkes.

In the 1980s, many saw the Canadian sports landscape start to change. In 1984, Sylvie Bernier won Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in diving and Anne Ottenbrite was the first Canadian woman to win gold in swimming.

In 1981, feminist athletes and activists created the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport, which is still advocating for gender equity in the sports community today. It was a lot different being a female athlete then than it is now, Bontkes said.

“You wouldn’t get away with that nowadays,” she said, about the girls team folding. “It’s totally different, females in sport now… the numbers are 10 times what they were when I went to school.”

READ MORE: Canadian women’s basketball team punches its Olympic ticket with win over Sweden

READ MORE: Ballenas Whalers clinch Island high school girls hoop championship

After graduating, Bontkes went on to play basketball at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) for a year and eventually ended up as a physical education teacher in Langley. She is now retired and spends her time coaching and still comes back to visit Parksville — her parents still live in the area and she has a beach house in San Pareil.

She coached both her children as they were growing up and they now play volleyball at Trinity Western University.

Bontkes said it was her time on the basketball team at Ballenas that inspired decisions that kept her involved in sports.

“My experience with playing sports pretty much my last year at Ballenas has led me to where I spent my life,” said Bontkes, who has now coached for more than 30 years. “I coach because I want to give what my coach [Ian Kennedy] gave me, which was full acceptance for who you are, the ability to learn some great leadership skills, to accept where you’re at.”

She’s not sure what would have happened if she hadn’t been allowed to play on the boys team at Ballenas — not all schools would have allowed that at the time.

Luckily, said Bontkes, she has a slew of great memories on the team and lasting friendships from her senior year. Her grad class was set to have a reunion this summer to celebrate their 50th birthdays.

She remembers great trips down to the U.S. with the team, plenty of hard work and, once, someone telling her that her check smelled like perfume.

To that, she said: “I never wore perfume.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

B.C. High School BasketballParksville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lisa Gooding Bontkes and her basketball team in her senior year at Ballenas. (submitted photo)

Just Posted

An illustration was given to the Parksville’s Church of the Ascension by a person, in appreciation for allowing use of its shower facility. (Mike Favero/Submitted photo)
Parksville church makes showers available to the homeless

Pastor receives special illustration from one appreciative person

There are now plans to reduce scaled of a proposed Ballenas running track upgrade. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Qualicum Beach running track project plans reduced in scale

Track group to switch to community grassroots level due to lack of support from regional district

Tigh-Na-Mara general manager Paul Drummond, left, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton right are prepared for a reinvented Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in 2020. COVID-19 will not spoil the community’s annual day of giving and help for local families through the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. (Peter McCully photo)
Reinventing Parksville Qualicum Beach’s popular Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive

COVID-19 restrictions won’t spoil community’s annual morning of giving

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Most Read