WEEK #18: AZELIA LIU
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Azelia Liu. I am a former Canadian goalkeeper for the National women’s field hockey team. I also represented Canada in indoor hockey, and floorball! Currently, I work as a high school teacher. I love growing up in our Canadian school system because it gave me opportunities to learn and try different sports. I have always loved being a goalie. As a child, I wanted to be an ice hockey goalie and always imagined myself playing on a team.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you faced.
Looking back on my career, the biggest barrier I faced was where and how I began my journey as a field hockey goalie. Growing up, I had a very regimented upbringing. My parents favoured academics over athletics and Chinese roots over Western culture in hopes to preserve our roots. In a nutshell, my parents enrolled me in Chinese school and Chinese brush painting classes. Don’t get me wrong, I am very fortunate for those experiences but I just wanted to be active, playing sports.
My opportunities to play came when I joined school sports teams. I joined the soccer team, field hockey, ice hockey, and softball teams in high school. I did them all because it was when I was in my element especially when I got to be the goalie. I soaked in all the coaching that I received and cherished every chance I got to play. I believe this early struggle of mine led me to see playing as a privilege and a rare opportunity. When my parents said, “Yes” to letting me play on a club team, I don’t think they knew I was going to play at the university level let alone for Team Canada….I don’t think I did either. However, I was determined to improve every year and set new limits and that’s what kept me playing for over ten years.