Parise Rossignol recently revealed that she was leaving the University of Maine women’s basketball team.
The decision came two years after Rossignol finished her Van Buren High School career as the state’s No. 2 all-time scorer with 2,589 points.
The move was somewhat surprising, given her tremendous previous success.
Fans wondered: Was Rossignol not good enough to play at UMaine? Did coach Richard Barron not give her a fair shot? Or did she simply lose her passion for basketball?
Rossignol’s quest to make the transition from Class D high school standout to Division I player was, from the outset, going to be a major challenge.
It cannot be overstated the magnitude of the jump from Class D basketball in Maine to the Division I level. There have been darned few to do so at UMaine the last 25 years, especially those who have made an impact.
Sandy Carver of Beals Island, Julie Bradstreet of Mars Hill and Kristin Baker of Bingham are a few who come to mind.
At Van Buren, Rossignol spent much of her high school career with the ball in her hands. As the point guard and principle scorer, she was the focal point.
At UMaine, she was introduced to Barron’s more structured offensive and defensive systems. And there was an increased emphasis was on defensive play — against players who were quicker, stronger and more talented.
Throw in the timing of Rossignol’s arrival at UMaine, where she joined a team laden with seven established upperclassmen and a junior college transfer, and there also would be no instant gratification.
She worked behind the scenes for two seasons, but was not able to crack the lineup. Rossignol was among a handful of reserves who not only were seldom utilized, but whose mistakes usually led to almost instant removal from the game.
Any resulting frustration would be understandable.
Despite the continued success of the program, Rossignol began to lose her passion for and enjoyment of the game. She wasn’t playing and basketball wasn’t fun any more.
She appears to have reached that emotional turning point at some point during her sophomore season. Rossignol said she prayed about it and decided to walk away.
The 2016-2017 season would appear to have been her best chance to crack the lineup, given the fact senior star Sigi Koizar will be UMaine’s only proven returning guard.
That wasn’t motivation enough to stick around for Rossignol, who obviously did not believe she would have a significant role on the team moving forward.
In hindsight, her situation was never going to be easy. She had a tall mountain to climb and the odds were stacked against her.
In spite of Maine basketball fans’ desire to see one of their own shine, it isn’t always in the cards. She found that it was no longer bringing the same satisfaction.
Rossignol should be commended for first making the effort to play at UMaine, but also for having the maturity to realize that she didn’t need to stay on the team and allow basketball to define her as a person.
She chose to focus on academics and the development of her Roman Catholic faith as the most important elements of the college experience.
Don’t be surprised in a few years to see Rossignol following in her father Matt’s footsteps as a teacher and coach. She will have many important lessons to share about being a high school sports star from a small school with Division I aspirations and the challenges that come with that quest.