SARNIA, Ont. – If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen.
When Mason Hyde (Petrolia, Ont.) wasn’t on the men’s basketball roster back in September ahead of the 2018-19 season, he could have taken that as the end of his basketball dream with the Lambton College Lions. Getting cut from a team is something that’s never easy to overcome, but it also puts things into perspective.
For Hyde, the perspective he gained from the experience was, quite literally, a game-changer.
“I wasn’t on the roster in September, and that drove me to get better,” said Hyde. “It was huge for me because I saw where I was at in terms of skill.”
Instead of letting the verdict stop him from achieving his dream and his goal of playing collegiate basketball, Hyde turned it into motivation. He used the decision as the fuel that he needed to get better on the court, and the results followed shortly thereafter.
“I was in the gym every day, twice a day,” said Hyde.
The hard work that Hyde put in got noticed by men’s basketball Head Coach James Grant. He saw that Hyde was putting in the work on his own time, working towards getting better, and that stuck with Grant as the season progressed.
Hyde spoke to Grant about getting another shot to play in the Showcase Tournament for local high school players. Instead, Grant offered him a spot with the team.
“I talked to Coach Grant and asked if I could get another shot in the Showcase Tournament,” continued Hyde. “He said, ‘well, I’ve actually seen you in the gym, so why don’t you come out to practice with us’.”
From there, Hyde started practicing with the team, learning the systems and going through workouts. He would travel with the team on the road, just watching the games without a spot on the roster. Hyde was still putting in the work, and it eventually paid off.
“After a couple weeks of practice, he said he wanted to add me to the roster,” said Hyde on Grant’s decision to add him to the active roster.
While he didn’t play a ton, Hyde did get into a handful of games down the stretch to get some experience under his belt. He played five minutes in the Lions’ regular season finale against the Mohawk Mountaineers, and he took to the court in the final game of the year against Georgian College.
This off-season, Hyde continued to put in the work with the hopes of an expanded role this season. The extra motivation of hosting the 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at Lambton College has helped Hyde in his preparations for the new season.
“It’s huge,” continued Hyde. “Last year, our team was made up of first and second year guys. One more year of playing together is going to be big.”
“Confidence in a league where there are guys playing in their fourth and fifth years is huge.”
Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Hyde looked back on how far he’s come throughout his time at Lambton College. From not having a roster spot at the start of the year to putting in the work and eventually finding his way into games by season’s end, Hyde has seen the ups and downs of a negative situation.
He left with some advice for younger kids who will likely go through a similar situation at some point in their lives, whether it’s in sport or in life in general.
“There are two ways you can look at being cut,” said Hyde. “It’s either you’re done, or you use that to motivate you and get back out there. That’s what happened here.”
"Certain workouts or certain days in the gym are going to be tougher than others, and you've got to use that motivation to push you through those tougher workouts."
Hyde is enteirng his second year in the Sports and Recreation Management program at Lambton College, and he's ready to have a big year, both in the classroom and on the hardwood. His hard work ultimately landed him a spot on the men's basketball roster last year, and he's ready to continue that progression in 2019-20.
"This past off-season, I put in a lot of work based on what I've seen from myself in practice," concluded Hyde. "I'm ready for a good season this year and to keep working from there."
Hyde was dealt an off-hand last season when he was cut from the men's basketball team back in September. Instead of letting that keep him down, he used it fuel for his fire, and he turned a negative verdict into a positive situation.
He knew what he wanted.
He wanted it bad enough.
Then, he made it happen.