Every now and then, if you wander into women's basketball practice at the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER, you'll find a group on the court that's twice as big but only about half as tall.
That's when the Varsity Reds are joined by their sister squad, the YCBC Capitals - a competitive U12 girls' team. It's a relationship that started in the fall of 2014, when YCBC Capitals coach Laura Swift-Christie and UNB head coach Jeff Speedy put their heads together and came up with the idea. And they even came up with some new names for each other - the Little V-Reds and the Big Caps.
The players are paired up with buddies to work on skills and drills and to share a love of being active and playing basketball.
"It's fun," said YCBC Capital Ella Christie. "It's people that we don't always get to work with, and it's a higher level so we get to learn new things."
Christie is ten years old and in Grade Five. This is her first year playing competitive basketball on a team she had to try out for. Her buddy is Varsity Reds' guard Caroline Healy. Healy says she loves working with the younger players and that it almost feels a little like deja vu.
"My mom coached at SMU, so I would always run into practice and be like 'Hey you! Can I play?' So it kind of feels the same," Healy said.
"I really like that I can help them now and teach them certain moves. Like working on backdoor cuts and showing them how to play defence."
UNB head coach Speedy says the relationship between the two teams is definitely a two-way street, and that the older girls have just as much to learn as they can help teach.
"It's important for our girls to recognize that the program is bigger than them," he said. "When they're playing in front of, say, 800 people at night, there's a lot of people there that care about them and care about their success and their failure, so it's important for them to see the people that they have a direct influence on. And who knows how many of these girls I'll be recruiting in six years?"
But it's not all hard work. There are a lot of smiles, high fives and some very loud cheering that goes on, too.
"At the end of their practice," Healy said with a giant grin, "they do a cheer and they all huddle around each other and start dancing with their feet. The first time we huddled around them, too, but now we all know the cheer so we do it together."
Just moments later, Healy spied the beginning of a huddle out of the corner of her eye.
"Wait for us!" Christie yelled as the two sprinted off to get in on the action.
UNB sister squad shows the V-Reds how it's done with their team cheer.