Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Asia Sevilla, and I am a 16-year-old from Markham, Ontario. I’m a proud student at Bill Crothers Secondary School, and I aspire to study kinesiology in the near future. No matter where I am in life, sport has always been what drives me. After all, it has been a part of who I am for almost my entire life. I started playing basketball when I was only four years old… and I’m forever grateful for it. So many of my favourite memories were made on the court and in the locker rooms!
When I was young, my mom told me that in order to achieve my goals, I would have to put in 10 000 hours of work. Since then, I have had the opportunity to compete on high-level teams, attend Ontario basketball’s training camps, and even give back to the community through coaching. Throughout my journey, I have felt very fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing community. My parents have been there since day one, always supporting me, and doing all they can to help me get ahead of my competitors. From driving hours to games and practices (shoutout to my siblings that were forced to come along), to registering me for camps and programs, they have had the biggest impact on my journey. Additionally, I have had coaches and mentors that have not only developed my physical skills, but taught me that life is more than basketball. Alongside my teammates, they have constantly challenged me to work hard and helped me work towards reaching my full potential.
My journey has certainly had its ups and downs: concussions that forced me to the sidelines, practices that challenged me both mentally and physically, and games that left me feeling lost. While it has not been easy, each of these moments have forced me to determine how much I love the game and decide how far I’m willing to go to achieve my goals. In all honesty, there have been times where I felt like I could not go on any longer. Where the mental challenges became too much, and I felt more frustrated than motivated. In times like these, I remind myself of how much basketball has done for me and feel inspired to keep putting in the work. My dad has always told me that I have an imaginary toolbox, that holds all of the skills that I have developed. Practice by practice, these tools become more effective, and help my in-game performance. Despite losing lots of game play in the last year, I have continued to add mental and physical tools into my toolbox. I hope that someday soon, I can return not only to playing, but coaching as well. I hope that I can inspire the next generation of strong female athletes to work hard and add to THEIR toolboxes!
Outside of sport, it has always been important to me that I find a balance between my education, extracurriculars and social life. After all, I am a teenager, who is very dependent on her friends. I believe that we are all shaped by experiences, so I try to get in as many as possible. It’s crucial to live while we’re young and remember to let loose once in a while! Aside from going out, I enjoy reading, spending time with my family (& dog!), and listening to music. I feel inspired by artists like One Direction, whose determination and dedication helped them to achieve their [once ‘impossible’] goals. Those who know me also know how much I love the sky – I spend hours watching sunsets and learning about space. Astronomy is amazing… there’s so much out there, and it puts into perspective how small we really are. It reminds me not to overthink everything and take a few risks.
What is a passion you have outside of sport? How do you share it with others?
When I was six, I began my journey as a French immersion student. At the time, I had absolutely no clue how much I would grow to adore this language. I think that high school was when I truly realized how lucky I am to be able to communicate with the French community. Full credit goes to my teacher, who in the last few years, has gone above and beyond to support me. Her ability to make me feel like I can achieve whatever I put my mind
to, is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. She has pushed me to enter oral communications competitions and has always encouraged me to deeply explore the French language. On top of that, she has inspired me to take on a leadership role in the community. This year, I was given the opportunity to co-run our school’s ‘Club de Français’, and tutor younger students studying French. From here, I hope to show my peers that being involved in the language is useful for more than just ordering a bagel at a Tim’s in Quebec. In Canada especially, the ability to communicate in French opens so many doors, both inside and outside of the workplace. I hope that others learn to appreciate it the same way that so many of us do!
What do you take pride in as an athlete?
I take pride in my ability to manage my time and live a healthily balanced life. While basketball is a huge part of who I am, I have always done my best to ensure that it is not the only thing that defines me. This has led me to take on multiple extracurriculars, including Colts in Action (a group of people wanting to make a difference in our community) and Model United Nations (a club that debates issues similar to those of the real United Nations). More recently, I have been an intern at a virtual physiotherapy company, called Phyxable. Here, I have gotten to learn about the business and marketing sides of kinesiology. On top of this, I’m very proud of the hard work that I put into my education. Countless hours of studying, homework on the way to practices, and the determination to achieve the ‘perfect’ project have helped me to be successful as a student. Last year, I was honoured to be awarded the Juel Prep basketball league’s Molten All-Academic award and be named a member of the NBYMP All-Academic team!
What advice do you have for athletes, parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
For athletes: Trust your teammates. High level athletes know how easily competition can be built between one another, so remember that you are working towards a common goal. Your team is your family – you will fail together, succeed together, and push each other to your best.
For parents: Be there to listen. If your kid feels left out, take action – reach out to coaches, and suggest effective ways to approach difficult situations. Always continue to be supportive, and remember how much of an impact you have on their young lives.
For coaches: At a high level, it can be especially difficult to prioritize every player on the team. It often becomes easy to dedicate all your attention to the ‘stars’, but it is SO important that everybody feels heard. I have played on many teams, and the most successful ones have had great dynamics in between the players. To improve inclusion, it is important to recognize if players are not getting along outside of sport, as this can lead to poor athletic performance. Doing team-building activities, like escape rooms, is perfect for this!
5 words that best describe me are: