University of Calgary

Keeping the team spirit strong

Submitted by tdroden on Fri, 01/20/2012 - 10:10.

Keeping the team spirit strong

Basketball star Megan Lang is a driving force behind the push for a national title
By Don McSwiney

Megan Lang is an offensive threat as well as a strong defensive player. (Photo by David Moll)Megan Lang is an offensive threat as well as a strong defensive player. (Photo by David Moll)

Megan Lang has a pretty simple approach to anything she does; an approach that can be summed up in four words: “Have fun and win!” She laughs. “It feels good to win so why not do it?”

Not surprisingly, “competitive” is a word frequently used to describe Lang, and it’s a big reason why the fifth-year Dinos women’s basketball shooting guard has always been a dominant force on the court. “I guess it’s just that I feel like if you’re going to play, or commit to anything, then you need to give 100 per cent. You need to leave it all on the court, you know?”

In Lang’s long career, she’s done exactly that. And this year, that commitment will be all that more important. The Dinos host the 2012 CIS National Championship Tournament in March.

The unquestioned leader of the team, she fidgets with everything within fidgeting distance, and seems much happier talking about the team’s prospects than herself. “I’m looking forward to proving the doubters wrong,” she says. “I feel like this team is really special.”

You can forgive Lang if she feels this year’s Dinos are unique. In the off-season they all took part in a team-building exercise. They flew to Tijuana, Mexico, and built a house for a family there, as part of the Homes for Hope international charity. “I thought we’d maybe paint or something like that, but we did everything and we did it as a team.”

Lang believes the chemistry that comes from working with a group for a cause has carried over from the summer and is showing itself on the court. “There’ll be times in a game, when we start playing more as individuals and less as a team, and that’s when that memory—that lesson—comes through that we’re always greater as a team.”

Assistant coach Claire Mitton has seen Lang’s “team-first” mentality grow over the years. “She has strong core values. As a player she has excellent fundamentals, she’s an offensive threat as well as a great defensive player who really understands the game—but it’s her competitive spirit that makes her special.”

Lang’s will to win comes naturally, as does her predisposition for hoops. Lang’s mom, Margot, was a guard with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and her dad Leonard was a defensive lineman with Peter Connellan’s Dinos. “She took to the game right away,” Margot recalls. “She’s always had a natural feel for the game—a natural basketball intelligence.”

From summer basketball camp in Grade 1, to community basketball, to junior high to Bishop O’Byrne high school in Calgary, Lang has always been a winner and nearly always helped her team to championship victories. In 2006-07 she won the athlete-of-the-year award for her school along with the Dr. Arlene McGinn Award as the outstanding female basketball player in Calgary high school. “The thing about those awards,” says Margot, “is that they’re not just for basketball; they’re also for academics and community service, so they make me really proud.”

Reflecting on her career, Lang says it’s the relationships she’ll remember the most, the teammates and coaches who made every year and every season unique.

She has one large outstanding item on her Dinos to-do list, and that is to win a national championship. You can watch her try March 17-19, when the Dinos host the 2012 CIS National Championship Tournament in the Jack Simpson Gym.