1. Why sport psychology?
Because investment banking just didn’t sound as fulfilling :)
But really… Why sport psychology? That’s a pretty easy question for me. I have played soccer for a long time, emphasis on the long. I started when I was 6 years old, and this definitely isn’t an exaggeration, but I knew I wanted to play college ball from the moment that I played in my first game. I’m not sure if it was because soccer was the only sport I happened to have a natural talent for-I couldn’t even hit the ball off the tee when my parents signed me up for softball-or if it just made me feel good that I was better than the boys. Whatever the reason, I just had this gut feeling, I will play soccer in college.
So my youthful exuberance motivated me. It motivated me for 12 years. And I did make it to play in college, but what happened along the way is where the sport psychology comes into play. In 8th grade I suffered my first big-time injury, a torn ACL in my left knee. After nursing the injury and returning to play, I suffered two more injuries in the same knee (within two years of the original injury) that required surgical repair, meniscal tears. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had undergone 3 procedures, and was still determined to make it to college.
For the next four years I would remain injury-free, and even contribute as a freshman “starter” on my college team at Northern Arizona University. Then, my sophomore year, the cycle started again; I tore the ACL in my right knee 8 games into our season. Again, under the surgical knife, I came back to play my junior year, and BAM-you guessed it-another torn meniscus. By the time my senior year had arrived, I was fully rehabbed and ready to play my last season, the one that I knew would be the best of them all.
To make a long story short(er), the very first game of our season I broke my tibia, and was told that playing my senior year would not be an option. Talk about a game-changer. I had the choice of taking a medical red shirt and playing a fifth year, or graduating and moving forward with my life. Enter sport psychology. Had I not had someone to help me decipher through my thoughts and feelings at that time, I honestly don’t know where I would be. Soccer had been such a huge part of my life for such a long time that the thought of not having it anymore was paralyzing. I hadn’t known myself without the sport, and I wasn’t sure that I was ready to move on from it.
I’ll leave a little curiosity in here, and let you try and guess the choice I made… But what I will say is that the confidence that I found in myself from my experience with sport psychology was undeniably amazing, and something I knew I wanted to share with others.
2. What is your favorite sport to play? What is your favorite sport to watch?
Is that a real question? Favorite sport to play, without a doubt, is soccer.
The second question-much more interesting… My answer is, it depends. Am I actually at the venue where the sport is being played, or am I watching it on television? And if I AM at the venue, then how close am I (because that does make a difference)? And all of these are definitely different than the sport I actually watch the most. So here it is…
Watching at home on television: Football
Watching at the venue, but from a distance: Hockey
Watching at the venue, but really close to the action: Basketball-Maybe Football, too.
Actually watch the most at the venue: Baseball
3. Tell me about your absolute favorite moment in your athletic career.
Of course it’s a soccer moment.
It happened in high school. It was my senior year, and we were playing against our cross-town rivals in one of the last regular season games before playoffs. Our rivals were ranked 7th in state that year (in pre-season polls), with over half of their starting 11 athletes already committed to play at Division I universities. On paper, they were the better team; any betting person would have put their money against us. We were young and inexperienced in comparison, and not to mention, terrified of a team that threatened to destroy us in front of our home crowd.
We entered the game on nerves and adrenaline, which actually played to our advantage. At halftime the score was still tied 0-0 and our confidence started to surface. We can play with these girls. Stop giving them so much credit. Before we took the field for the second half, I erupted with words of encouragement. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I do remember the feeling of being huddled up with my teammates, demanding everyone’s best effort for the last 45 minutes of the game…Powerful.
The game comes down to the wire. There is 7 minutes left, and one of our defenders passes me the ball on a quick transition to the other side of the field. I began to dribble towards the other team’s goal and was quickly approached by a defender. My tunnel vision was on, and all I could focus on was getting to their goal as quickly as I could. The defender approached me, and I tapped the ball between her legs. Before she could understand what happened, I gathered the ball behind her, and noticed the goalie was pretty far off her line. I launched a shot from about 40-yards out to the upper right hand corner of the goal. The ball went in, and we ended up winning the game 1-0.
4. If you could have lunch with any athlete, who would it be?
Megan Rapinoe. One thing that I really admire about her is how she I think that she uses her fame as an outlet for creating awareness, and in some cases, creating change. She has done philanthropic work for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and also became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports. She has also advocated for the equal treatment of women in soccer; this past December, the United States women's national soccer team made headlines when it refused to play a match in Hawaii because of the poor condition of the artificial turf playing surface. After claiming a World Cup championship, women are still playing on subpar fields, in subpar locker room conditions, with subpar pay, in comparison to their male counterparts.
I guess I’d choose her because we’d have a lot more to talk about than soccer, and I genuinely think she is using her athletic prowess for more than just popularity… She uses it to make the world a better place.
5. Do you have a favorite mental skill to work on with clients?
Performance anxiety, and athletes experiencing transition (athletes returning to play after injury, transitioning from high school to college/college to professional levels, athletic retirement, etc.).
6. Which skill do YOU need to practice more often?
Self-care, enough said.
7. How do you want people to remember you?
I want people to remember me with smiles. I might not be remembered as a perfect person who changed the world, but I think it’d be just as powerful to be remembered as a person who helped to really change a couple lives for the better.