You did not have to watch a University of Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball game for very long to realize that Angie Johnson was the best player on the floor.
In a nutshell, Angie was gifted. She was strong and smart and skilled, but she was also aggressive and competitive and that's what set her apart. She loved to win and she played as if every game would be her last.
She started her high school athletic career at Gordon Bell and when her family moved to the "'burbs" she graduated from John Taylor Collegiate. She was such a remarkable high school athlete that she not only had a shot at Canada's national basketball team, but at a volleyball tournament in her senior year, she was noticed by a national volleyball team assistant coach, who offered her a shot at international glory in her "other" sport. She politely declined.
After high school she played for coach Vic Pruden at the University of Winnipeg and while she was winning athlete-of-the year honours at U of W, she also played for Darlene Currie, then Jack Donohue, then Don McCrae, with Canada's national basketball squad.
She played in the 1972 World University Games in Moscow, the 1973 World championships in Cali, Colombia, the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She was also part of one of the first contingents of Canadian athletes ever to compete in China.
"It was a great experience, but under the circumstances, I look back on having missed a lot," she said. "I loved the travel we did, but when you're with a national team, it's usually airport-to-gym-to-hotel-to-gym-to-airport. As I recall, the only time we really got to see the country we were in was during the time we spent in China. I'll never forget it. It was an honour to be with that team."
Today, Angie (Johnson) Straub is a widow living on a four-acre property in Victoria. She has two grown children, son Adam, 26, and daughter Danica, 20, and is taking some time off from teaching to care for her parents.
Now 54, she played basketball competitively into her early 50s and said recently, "If it weren't for my knees and a nagging foot injury, I'd love to play again this year."