Jade Barko: “Go Out There And Be You”

Jade Barko lacrosse

Jade Barko carries the ball for the University of Gueph’s women’s lacrosse team

For anyone who has seen Jade Barko play lacrosse, or any sport for that matter, they’d know she is a competitive and passionate athlete.

The Wallaceburg lacrosse product, and Chatham, Ontario native, recently finished her first season playing field lacrosse for the University of Guelph Gryphons.

“Lacrosse to me is a part of my life,” said Barko. “Like many sports it takes a lot of mental and physical strength. I would tell someone young looking to pursue this sport to enjoy it. As much as it is a sport and everyone wants to win, if you don’t take the time to enjoy it you may lose your love for it.”

While Barko is a competitive athlete, she’s learned to balance her drive to win, and enjoying the game

“There’s the saying you win some you lose some and it’s true. But what’s really important is how you take those wins and loses and what you do with them. Don’t play sports to play sports. Play them because you want to, because you enjoy it.”

Lacrosse is known as a rough and physical sport, but Barko, who has been playing the game for many years, doesn’t prescribe to the thought that the physicality of the game means it is a “mans sport.”

“I would say why?,” Barko questioned when asked about people’s idea of the game being for men.

“You see girls play these sports and do as well or sometimes better than the men they compete with. There is always separation in the genders in sports. But at the end of the day sports are sports and comparing genders or skill isn’t important. What’s important is the experience and joy the sports bring to those playing and those watching.”

With that in mind, Barko wants young athletes to choose a sport they love, be themself, and enjoy playing the game.

“I would like to tell them (young athletes), you do you. Do what you want in life whether it’s sports or something else. Life is too short to spend it worrying about the little things. Go out there and be you. Don’t ever let someone or something define you.”

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