How Varsity Sports Have Impacted Me

Two girls hugging at a sporting eventBy Gabrielle Gregg

Photo Credits: Gabrielle Gregg

As I complete my third year at Western University, I look back to when I moved across Canada to start university. During the first week of September 2017, I nervously took my first steps onto the track and was welcomed by veteran track athletes. Afraid I would be leaving my family back in Calgary, these worries subsided when I was surrounded by my new track family – my home away from home. Since that first day at try-outs, my coaches and fellow athletes have encouraged me daily to do my best on and off the track. In the good times and the tough times, the team pulls together to support each other.

The Impact of Varsity Sports...

Competing on a varsity team has impacted the last three years of my life more than I could’ve predicted. I am so lucky to be a part of a team that pushes me to become better athletically and academically. On the track, my teammates have taught me that there is no substitute for a tireless work ethic and unparalleled discipline. Making it to USports Nationals this year was possible as a result of the team supporting my goals and always pushing me to be the best athlete I could be during our long workouts at the track or during the hard lifts in the gym. Goals accomplished in track are made sweeter by the support of those around you, which I figured out after crossing the finish line on my last race of the season at USports. Surrounded by coaches and teammates, I felt overjoyed that I could celebrate the achievement of my own goals and the goals of those around me. Off the track, these same coaches and teammates offered insight into how time management, hard work, and commitment are essential to meeting the demands of a vigorous academic and athletic schedule.

After having the honour to compete for Western’s Track and Field team, I strive to find new ways to give back to the community. I have been fortunate enough to work with youth in London at the Indigenous Youth Track and field Day and the Boys & Girls Club who aspire to achieve great accolades in sport and wish to live a healthy lifestyle. Spending time with other varsity athletes to share our love for sport is so rewarding when seeing the smile across the kids faces as they score their second goal.  Beyond sport, I have volunteered with other varsity athletes to support the local food banks during the busy holiday seasons, pull planes to raise money, organized through my role as President of Mustangs Care. 

Upon preparing to return for my final year of competition, I find myself still having the same energy and passion I came to Western with; a feeling of excitement to see my coaches, teammates, mentors and friends again from my Western Mustang family relationships.

The Importance of Varsity Sports...

Competing on the Varsity Track team for Western is extremely important to me because it is a commitment to something bigger – representing Western! Each track meet that I am fortunate enough to compete in, I look down at the purple W on my team jacket and smile, acknowledging the foundations that I am competing on, past and current athletes and coaches. Being a varsity athlete at Western means that I am a part of the Mustang family. That means that I not only racing for my team, but I am racing for all 30,250 Western students. The student body remains dedicated to supporting their athletes. Seeing the students in their purple supporting the hard work and accomplishments of the teams on the field, rink, pool, or track brings together the Western community through feels of pride and excitement. Every time I put on the purple and white, I feel this energy and pride of representing Western.  

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