There’s nothing like hitting your first home run, catching your first touchdown pass or, if you’re Sierra Holmes, scoring your first try on the rugby pitch.
The ninth-grader from Tantramar Regional High School in Sackville, New Brunswick has Down syndrome, and in cooperation with the opposing team, J.M.A. Armstrong, Holmes scooped up the ball in the final home game of the season and ran her heart out up the left side of the field until she crossed the goal line for five points.
“What can I say about the whole thing? It was just such a special moment for everyone…So definitely a big ‘thank you’ goes out to them (J.M.A. Armstrong) for their excitement and willingness to take part in what will surely be one of the most memorable tries for our team and certainly Sierra and her family,” Tantramar head coach Lorissa Johnson told the Sackville-Tribune Post.
Holmes started playing rugby when she entered high school because she was inspired by her older sister, also a rugby player. According to her coach, she works incredibly hard at practice and shows her spirit on the sidelines as the team’s biggest cheerleader.
So, knowing the season was winding, the coaching staff wanted to reward Holmes for her dedication and positivity by inserting her into a match. They approached J.M.A. Armstrong with the idea and were immediately embraced.
Who says Canada is all hockey all the time?
In a world where hyper-competitive coaches and athletes at all levels of play often put sportsmanship on the back burner, it’s fantastic to see the opposite occur here.
Holmes now has a moment from her athletic career she’ll remember for the rest of her life, and it’s fair to say that everyone who was there to witness it will too.
Only a freshman, it will be fun to see what the next three years will bring.