Shooting for the Cure with the UBC Thunderbirds

While I have nothing against sports, for some reason I’ve gone four years at UBC without attending a single Thunderbirds game.

Why is that?

I’ve been to a few NHL games, many CFL games, and an MLB game or two. I even attended a few Vancouver Grizzlies games when they were still around, but I was an infant and don’t remember anything. That being said, it wasn’t that the idea of attending a game is at all repulsive to me. It just hadn’t happened yet!

After deciding to attend my first T-birds game this term, I grabbed a friend and we headed to the Women’s Basketball Shoot for the Cure game.



Shoot for the Cure is a U SPORTS Women’s Basketball initiative that raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and is currently in its 12th year. Having raised over $1 million to date through games across Canada, it’s clear that the initiative has been a phenomenal success.

Attending the game

After my classes on Friday, I met up with my friend, grabbed some food, and headed over to the War Memorial Gym.

Set up inside the building were pamphlets and giveaways from the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as a donation box. There was also congregations of kids milling about and playing with the mini basketball hoop set up in the lobby. I picked up a sweet pink nail file (which I actually needed), slipped some money into the donation box, and headed into the gym to grab our seats.


Jessica Hanson


We decided to sit near the front for the full experience and to get as close as possible to the action. As soon as the game started, we quickly realized how clueless we were about basketball and how little we knew about the rules of the sport. So, I’d call this experience both highly educational, as well as highly entertaining!

Bit of bad news: we didn’t win. The visiting team from Thompson River University in Kamloops took the title that night. That said, it was neck and neck the entire time, and our Thunderbirds gave TRU a real run for their money.



An unexpected highlight from the evening, aside from the game itself, was the mid-game entertainment. Congratulations to the kids who competed against each other in a “pizza-box race”, among other games–it was truly adorable to watch. The real highlight however was two UBC athletes with luscious locks who got extreme haircuts at half-time and donated their hair to Wigs For Kids! One of the brave men went for a full buzz-cut, while the other decided on more of a long-bob.


UBC Athlete Bogdan Pavel gets a trim at half-time


My final verdict

So what did I think of this experience? It was surprisingly fun, entertaining, and engaging. Will I be attending more Thunderbirds games? I’d say definitely! First off, it’s super cheap (student tickets are always $5-$7), and being on campus, the games are convenient to attend. Second, it’s just something different to do with friends. There is a lot to do in Vancouver in the evenings, but many things (grabbing dinner/drinks, for one) are expensive and the costs can add up. It’s good to have less costly alternatives to your average night out, and a new experience is useful for breaking you out of your habits–at least, it was for me.


Tickets and information for all Thunderbirds games are available at Some fun upcoming games include Basketball Festive Friday on Friday, November 30th–the last day of classes–and Winter Classic on January 18th, UBC’s biggest hockey game of the year!

All photos by Rich Lam/UBC Athletics.