Sports, for me, are almost a new fangled idea. I have lived my whole life in a house in rural Pennsylvania where there was ample space to run around in fields and woods. My parents told my sister and I are our neighbors to run around outside, and that is what we did. We played our own versions of baseball, kickball and spud, and even invented some of our own. But, never did I play an organized sport as a kid. I dabbled a bit in dance lessons, because I wanted to wear the pretty pink tutus, and I spent a bit of time learning to figure skate because I wanted to twirl in circles and look pretty! But, these were simply one night a week, and playing an organized sport as a child never crossed my mind.
When I was 8 years old, however, my dad introduced me to backpacking. We had been camping since I was little, but backpacking was a new idea. I absolutely loved it. A year later, my parents let my sister and I attend a summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina, where we could do any outdoors activity. I backpacked for a few summers, but then found my true passion: whitewater paddling. The very first river I paddled was exhilarating, it was as if nothing could come between me and the paddle I was digging into the water. I was 12 years old, and to this day, I still love to be on the water. Every summer, I cannot wait for the first day on the river, to rediscover the movements of my boat, and to feel the push of the water. Once winter hits, I cannot wait for the first roll clinic to feel that my roll still exists and to simply feel the beauty of the water underneath me.
Once I hit middle school, I started playing “traditional” sports. I played field hockey beginning in sixth grade, and basketball beginning in eighth grade, and soccer beginning in ninth grade. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the court or the field, to have a coach and teammates pushing me and to push my teammates in return.
When I decided to attend Colby, I thought about pursuing my love for basketball and trying out for the team. However, I decided against it, and in stead, chose to join the Woodsmen’s Team. This was perhaps my second best decision (the first being learning to whitewater paddle). Woodsmen is enough to keep me in shape, and it is just the right level of commitment, but it also has that draw that paddling does in which it has that connection with nature. Being able to practice outside everyday is wonderful, and that open air does wonders for any mood. For me, non-traditional sports have always been much more of my path. I loved participating in those “traditional” sports in high school; my success has always been with things involving nature and connecting me with the outdoors.