WEEK #14: ASHLEY STEPHENSON
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Mississauga. My family was always very active. My mom, dad and younger brother all played multiple sports, so I was lucky enough to be introduced to them at an early age. I started playing hockey and baseball at a very young age and fell in love with both sports. I also played multiple other sports in elementary and secondary school including, basketball, soccer, rugby, field hockey, and volleyball. Sports have always been a huge part of my life. I have been an athlete, coach, and even an official. I turned my love for being active into a career! I have been a high school physical education teacher for 12 years.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.
Sports are something I love to do. The have helped guide me through some of the toughest times in my life and I have met some of the best mentors and have friends for life because of sports. My dad passed away suddenly when I was eight years old. It turned our life upside down in an instant. It was very difficult coping with the loss of a parent but I always found joy in playing sports. No matter how bad my day was, when I got on the ice or diamond, I had fun and didn’t worry about anything else going on in my life. Sports and the amazing people I have met through playing them have changed my life.
How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport to help you overcome your barrier?
I have been fortunate enough to have so much support in my life. The saying “it takes a village to raise a family” comes to mind when I think about my childhood. I grew up with fantastic neighbors who would help our family with anything we needed. I had supportive teammates and their parents who helped get me to and from practices, games and tournaments when my mom had to take my brother to his activities. I had teachers who believed in me and pushed me to accomplish more and want better for myself. And I had coaches who took on parenting roles at times in my life. I often wonder where I would be without all of these people and their guidance.
If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy what would it be? Why?
I have always been determined to be the best I can at everything I do! My dad was a very focused man and my mom is the hardest working person I have ever met, so my role models growing up were