Week 48: Sabrina Razack
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small town called Kitchener, Waterloo which is about an hour west of Toronto. My parents are from Trinidad Tobago, which is a Caribbean Island off the coast of Venezuela. I grew up having a strong affinity towards sport, so I tried everything and played everything. I was the girl that was a little above average but wasn’t super above average. I made all the sports teams. I gravitated towards basketball, but I also played soccer and did track and field. When I went to university I didn’t make it onto the varsity basketball team, so I tried out for rugby. After a girl asked me to try-out and asked me if I had good hands, I responded with “I think I do”. I played fly-half for the varsity rugby team for 3 years. I also studied Kinesiology in my undergrad and a certificate in Sport Administration as well. After that I worked a lot with fundraising for Olympic athletes in the non-for-profit sector. I then transitioned into pro sports but realized I liked the non-for-profit and amateur athlete sector a lot better. I decided to do my Masters in Kinesiology and looked at women’s cricket. My last contract was working with the Pan Am Games when they came to Toronto. My role was community outreach, bringing the community to the games and education as well. I am a certified teacher and taught for a few years as well.
I took a year off teaching and started my PhD in Kinesiology within the Physical Studies and Cultural stream. I also do a lot of consulting trying to get girls and young women in organized sports and increase their physical activity. Also, helping organizations to market, recruit and retain girls within their organizations. In addition, increasing representation of girls in leadership positions in the organization as well. I’m also a member of the Canadian Sport Film Festival, so my role this is education and outreach too. I do like to create curriculum when it comes to sport movies and trending issues when it intersects race, class and gender.
What kind of barriers have you overcome in your life? What skills did you learn in sport that have helped you overcome these barriers?
Based on my body frame, people don’t assume that I play sports or even have an interest in sports. I have a small body frame, I’m a brown girl so it was like I wasn’t “supposed to play”. It was always proving myself on the court or on the field, even in the in the classroom when I was studying sport. There wasn’t a lot of people that looked like me. It was always convincing the kids that you teach or the people you coach, the space that you’re in that you have the knowledge and skills to be there. What I think sports gave me a network of contacts and sociability amongst my peers that allows me the place to be who I was. It serves as a strong character of who I was in terms of my identity as well. When I was growing up, I was always the girl that was wearing jogging pants or my hair up. I wasn’t comfortable with my femininity. Sport was a place where I was accepted to be that as well, despite pressures from outside forces, including my family. And now I embrace my feminism more where I know that I often think, “did I reject that when I was younger because I was in sport and I was accepted that way?” I wish I had the knowledge then that I can say I can be both. I think girls now where they are embracing all versions of themselves. I know that sport is a place that females struggle with.
How has sport helped you to be a better leader?
Sport allowed me to be a leader. I don’t know if it made me a better leader. Sport provided me with the opportunity to be a leader. Being selected as captain on teams or someone tapping on the shoulder and asking me to coach, then becoming a teacher and leading physical education classes. Sport enabled me to develop and nurture my leadership skill.