By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
On the day she was planning to return to Tortola after completing her freshman year, Joy Victor, the territory’s first woman to play collegiate basketball for the University of the Virgin Islands, found herself on a journey that changed her life and she ended up in Calgary, Canada, instead of relaxing at home during the summer.
As the season had ended, Victor got a call from UVI coach Reggie Carrick like everyone else individually, where he asked how she thought the season went after they lost 5 of 13 players following Hurricane Irma. At the end of the meeting, Victor recalled being told she won’t have a scholarship at UVI anymore.
“He told me that he can see I have raw talent but lacked the experience as I never had real high school ball experience and he didn’t think he was the coach for me, but there was another way I could stay at UVI and still play basketball with him,” she explained. “I could join the cross country team, obtain a scholarship from the track coach and still play basketball as well. He also told me of an opportunity in Canada, but that had a catch as well, so those were my two choices. I started my summer with devastating news.”
With a $150 application fee, Victor decided to apply to St. Mary’s College to have a second option after speaking with the UVI track coach and thought that was her best option since she had already paid the fee.
“I started the process and it was way more than I had bargained for. I thought it was just to apply and complete the necessary steps, but it wasn’t a full scholarship and the school doesn’t have any dorms, so it doesn’t cover that and I had to rent a place on my own,” she noted. “I also had to change my major from accounting to psychology, because the school doesn’t offer accounting. Then I had trouble with getting the visa, got here two weeks late as I only got the visa in Trinidad and Tobago hours before the deadline the school gave expired. At the time, I was about to pack my bags and leave Trinidad for Tortola, when I checked my email and saw the visa came through.”
Victor booked a flight and went straight from Trinidad and Tobago to Canada, leaving her belongings in Tortola. Through the ordeal, she made the team and though she played a year with UVI, that doesn’t count and she has her four years of eligibility with St. Mary’s, which won their first ACAC championship in 2017.
“I started late as I was behind in everything, they had their plays and everyone was in shape and I wasn’t so I had to catch up really quick,” Victor pointed out. “I’m now getting on the level as everyone else.”
Victor not only had to adjust to the team, but the weather, a new city, a new environment and being on her own fending for herself in an unfamiliar place, where she didn’t know how to get around.
“I had to figure out how to get to school daily, because it snowed as I got here so I started walking at first, then took a bike before realizing I could take a bus and a train,” she explained. “My old UVI coach supplied me with cold weather gear. I have to check the temperature daily, and be sure I’m covered properly, something I didn’t have to do in the Virgin Islands. I’ve had to go up very quickly.”