Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
As a kid, my main hobby was arts and crafts. I’ve always enjoyed making things with my hands, and creative things like sewing, drawing, painting and baking. At a young age, I started a baking business where I made custom baked goods for events and parties in my community.
The first sport I learned was baseball. My dad has been a baseball fan since childhood, and always took my brother and me to Jay’s games. One summer, my dad asked if we wanted to learn baseball, and we both expressed interest. My brother and I both grew to love playing and played in leagues for probably 6 summers. Of course, there weren’t girls teams, so my friend and I were usually the only girls playing. We had so much fun but also dealt with misogyny on a daily which was tough. After 1 of my final seasons, I won “female player of the year” in the york Simcoe baseball association. When I moved to a new school in grade 10, I became the first girl to ever be on my school’s baseball team. However, after horrible experiences with coaches and teammates, I quit the team. It’s sad, but I haven’t played since then, even though I love the game.
I got into basketball shortly after baseball. I had fun playing recreationally for years, but a pretty toxic experience on a rep team shook me up, and I don’t have much confidence left. I couldn’t handle the pressure of being on a competitive team, and the fear of disappointing my coaches/teammates.
After a rough basketball season, after wanting to for a long time, I pushed myself to get a skateboard. From the moment I stepped on the board, I instantly fell in love. The freedom that I feel when I step on the board is priceless and skating always seems to relieve all my stress. There’s no way I’d rather spend my day than at a skatepark on a summer day. In skateboarding, there are no rules. You can be creative, you can choose what tricks you learn and you can add your own style and flair. The only person I’m competing with is myself, and I can progress at my own pace. Finally, the community is so supportive and will hype you up no matter what level you are at. Skateboarding has my heart, and I hope to skate for the rest of my life.
How has sport contributed to the person you are today?
In all the sports I’ve participated in, I’ve had to overcome adversity. Thus, sports have taught me to stand up for myself, and be comfortable taking up space in traditionally male-centric spaces. Playing sports has also given me a window as to how power and social
construction function in our society, and the work that needs to be done to dismantle stereotypes and hegemonic, misogynistic ideologies.
What makes you an inclusive leader?
As the cofounder of yorkskateboarding, I work not to ensure equality, but equity at the skatepark. The philosophy of our programming is that everyone is welcome. When something happens that may be misogynistic, racist, etc, I will stand up for the victim, and explain why what’s happening isn’t okay. Skateparks can be very intimidating when you’re first learning, especially for female-identifying, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. Thus, when I see someone at the skatepark who’s just learning, I always try to go up to them and say hi, and tell them they’re doing great. In my experience, one kind gesture can make someone feel so much more welcome.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches, or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
My advice is for everyone to check their biases. Whether they’re about race, gender, sexuality or other factors, we all need to continue to question our biases and reflect on their underlying meanings. This is important for parents, coaches, administrators, players, referees, and pretty much everyone else. Also, coaches must understand that when coaching girls, they need to do extra work to ensure that they feel welcome. Girls need to be reminded that they’re valued and that their hard work is just as valuable as their male counterparts. The same goes for other minority populations.
5 words that best describe me are:
HARDWORKING | OPEN | FUNNY | GOAL-ORIENTED | CREATIVE