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More Than a Sport: Q&A with Program Intern, Sydney Seeley

Happy Thursday, everyone!

We’re pleased to kickstart our summer blog series, More Than A Sport, with our first publication today. Every Thursday between now and the end of August, you can expect to hear stories, written by our wonderful summer interns, on how sports have personally affected them and helped them in their lives on the Her Next Play blog. For this week’s post, we’ll be spotlighting our Program Summer Intern, Sydney Seeley, with a Q&A!

Last week, Sydney sat down with Her Next Play staff to answer some questions regarding her experience with sports, among other things. Let’s read what she had to say!

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

Growing up, I played volleyball, golf, softball, and ice hockey. Currently, I am a NCAA Division III ice hockey goalie at Lawrence University. I started playing ice hockey when I was four and it’s been my favorite sport to play ever since!

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

My favorite woman athlete is Maddie Rooney, a former University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) ice hockey goaltender. When I was about 10 years old, I would go to the games with my family and watch her play. I’ve been a huge fan of her since then. I particularly remember watching the 2018 game when she helped lead Team USA to the gold medal by winning the shootout in the final against Canada. When that happened, it was the United States' first gold medal at the Olympics since 1998.

You’ll have your own blog post coming out later this summer on how skills learned in sports can translate into the workplace, so I won’t ask you specific questions on that topic. That said, could you spend some time discussing how sports have helped you in other “non-sports” parts of your life?

Playing sports has helped me tremendously in other parts of my life. Some examples that come immediately to mind are improving my time management skills with school and balancing personal relationships. Sports has also helped me with preparation in general. When we have a game, we have to get to the facility where we’re playing three hours before the start. This has helped me in other areas where preparation is important too, like studying for tests. I would also say that sports has deepened my ability to take initiatives on tasks that may not be related to athletics at all. Lastly, sports has improved my communication skills, not just talking to coaches and teammates, but also my professors and friends.

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?

With all athletes, I think there’s a struggle with burnout and handling different mental challenges. For women athletes specifically, publicity and attention to our sports compared to men’s sports is also a challenge. Even with my personal experience playing ice hockey, there’s a big difference in things like the turnout for our games vs. the men’s games.

As for how to combat these challenges, I think it’s important for all athletes to remind themselves of their why. That is, why they play the sport to begin with and reminding themselves of that intrinsic reason that got them there in the first place. For me personally, I like to write down goals at the beginning of each season to help me stay on track with what my focus is on. That way, when things happen like poor attendance at our games, I can recenter my focus on my own goals and what I’m showing up to accomplish this season.

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

All four years of high school, my coach would say the same thing to me: "Work hard, challenge the shot, control your rebounds, stop everything. Nobody better." I still repeat these words to myself frequently!

Is there anything you want to share that you haven’t already?

I just want to stress how much I believe that sports are such a good way to bring a sense of community into our lives. Through sports, you always have people you can rely on and those same people can always rely on you. I think there’s something really special and unique about this that other programs don’t necessarily offer.

Thank you, Sydney, for sharing your answers to these questions with the Her Next Play community, and for kicking off our More Than A Sport summer blog series.

Be on the lookout next Thursday when we’ll feature our Marketing Intern, Jenna Hartung, and she’ll share her answers to the same questions!

Stay well till then, and see you next Thursday :)

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