***Kim McCallum was born in Toronto in 1993 and started to play tennis when she was 5. Throughout her tennis career, Kim has worked with such great coaches as Peter Cameron, Casey Curtis, Andrea Rabzak and Pierre Lamarche (current). Her parents, Wendy and James, have always been very supportive and would drive her to practice and watch, they would show up to tournaments and be there to motivate and/or congratulate her. Kim’s older brother, Rob, studied in the United States for two years on a tennis scholarship, and now it’s Kim’s turn to watch her dream come true.***
ONcourt: What were your dreams when you started playing competitive tennis?
Kim McCallum: My dream when I started playing competitive tennis was to attend a university in US on a tennis scholarship.
ONcourt: So after making the Nationals and on your way to your dream, what happened?
Kim McCallum: I was competing in the U18 Indoor Provincials (2010), when I experienced a strange pain in my right shoulder. What I had originally thought to be a strain turned out to be something much more complicated. Over the course of the next couple of months, I saw many physiotherapists about my shoulder injury. All of them tried to fix my shoulder through different methods, such as acupuncture, massages and electrical current, but none of the methods seemed to work. Since none of the physiotherapists could pinpoint the problem, I was told to get an MRI. For anyone who has gotten one, they would know that the waiting list isn’t short. And what had originally been the belief that I would only need one MRI, turned into 4 due to bad picture results or the MRI not being done properly.
It was around February of 2011 that I started to play once again. My life had started to resume back to its old way, but not for long. It was around the time that I had started training again that my dad was informed by doctors that he had pulps in his colon, which may or may not be cancerous. Because of the doctors’ concerns, he underwent surgery a month later to have them removed. After the surgery, the surgeon told us that he had stage IV colon cancer. It was that day that my life had turned upside-down because I would no longer be getting driven to training or having my game critiqued after practice and matches. Not to mention my home life.
ONcourt: How did you come back and how did you pursue your dream?
Kim McCallum: Coming back after being injured for so long was an incredibly difficult thing for me to do. My confidence was shaken because I didn’t trust my shoulder, which showed in my performance on the court. As well, I felt an immense amount of pressure because the outdoor season was beginning, and I had forgotten so many skills that I had acquired throughout the years, one of them being how to compete.
Among many difficulties I faced, perhaps the most tiresome was traveling. My dad was no longer in a state to be driving me around, so I found the amount of time I spent traveling each day had jumped significantly to five hours a day. Because school, traveling and training took up much of my time throughout the week, I found I had to be more productive with my time, so I started to complete my homework whenever and wherever I traveled.
ONcourt: Talk to us about the recruiting process, what it was like, and what you decided about each school?
Kim McCallum: The recruiting process will be amongst one of the most stressful things in your life because we all want to be able to sign with a great school. In order to achieve it, it takes a lot of time and energy because you have to write the SAT, make a video of you playing, talk to coaches, visit universities or colleges, while also trying to improve your game and achieve good school marks.
One of the most important things when looking at schools is knowing what you want. For me, I wanted to stay more in the northern states and go to an average size school with a relatively smaller campus. When I visited schools, I made sure to take into account the state of each school’s facilities, what the coach and team members were like, and the atmosphere of the school and the city/town it was located in.
ONcourt: If Boston University was your number #1 choice and your dream came true, how do you feel about the future?
Kim McCallum: I am very excited about going to Boston University. I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life and to begin what I have worked for many years. I am overjoyed that I am able to attend the university that was my number one choice. And I am grateful to have had the help and support from my family, coaches and friends who played a huge part in making this all happen.