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More Than a Sport: Q&A with Play Bold Intern, Lauren Murphy

Happy Thursday, everyone!

We’re back with another weekly More Than a Sport blog post. This Thursday, we have Lauren Murphy, our Play Bold Summer Intern, sit down for a Q&A. Let’s dive right in to read all about the impact sports has had on her life :)

What sports did you play growing up and what sports do you play currently?

Growing up I played a bunch of sports, but by high school my two favorites were soccer and track and field. I started playing soccer when I was four years old and I quickly fell in love with the sport. Currently, I have a ton of fun playing in two intramural soccer leagues.

Do you have a favorite woman athlete? If so, who is it and why are they your favorite?

My favorite woman athlete is my best friend, Maggie. We met in pre-school and became inseparable when we started playing soccer together in the third grade.

Towards the end of middle school, Maggie began having bad knee issues, which eventually resulted in her having to take a break for two seasons. When she was finally cleared to play again, it was our junior year of high school. This is not an easy time to rejoin a sport, and against all odds and expectations, she began playing better than ever.

She got a starting spot on the varsity team and became a staple player on our defensive line. Maggie is now entering her third year as a snowboard instructor in Montana. Her athleticism on the mountain is unbelievable and I am so proud of her athletic journey. She taught me so much about perseverance and determination. I will always be in awe of her strength as an athlete and as a person.

You’ll have your own blog post coming out later this month on how sports have impacted you in your life. That said, could you spend some time discussing how sports have helped you in other “non-sports” parts of your life?

There are a million things I could say to answer this question. I learned about commitment, self discipline, resilience, teamwork, and so much more.

However, there is one aspect of sports that I can clearly say has created the longest lasting impact. As cheesy as it sounds, the most impactful part of sports for me is the friendships I have made.

I met my three childhood best friends through soccer. We met as little girls and now we are twenty years old and booking flights to visit each other across the country. I am the person I am today because of my closest friendships, almost all of whom have been formed through sports. Even as an adult, I am creating new friendships through my intramural leagues. Sports has the power of connecting people in so many different ways, and I am forever grateful for the connections I have made along the way.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge most athletes and specifically, women athletes, are facing today? What advice do you have to help combat these challenges?

A challenge that most athletes face is the expectation for achievement in all areas of life. In sports, academics, and extracurriculars, young people are expected to not only participate, but excel. This unrealistic goal can be incredibly overwhelming and commonly causes significant stress and pressure in young athletes' lives.

To combat this challenge, I suggest taking a step back and being realistic about your limits. Putting your mental and physical health first should always be the first priority and it is important to not let your own or other people’s expectations get in the way of that. Give yourself grace and do your best, whatever that may be.

What’s the best piece of advice a coach has offered you?

“Once a panther, always a panther.” In high school, our mascot was a panther. My senior year I suffered from a season ending injury. My coach would remind me of this slogan every day. It encouraged me to keep showing up for my team, even if it wasn’t as a player. It reminded me that I would always have them and they would always have me, regardless of our status as players.

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your experience with the Her Next Play community. Be on the lookout next Thursday when our Marketing Intern, Jenna, will share some words on the relationship between sports and building self confidence in her life.

Stay well till then, and see you next Thursday!

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