Emily VanDamme: “You Will Face Adversity On Your Journey, But It’s Important To Keep Pushing Forward”
VanDamme was named an OUA First Team All-Star this season backstopping the Trent University women’s lacrosse team, helping them to an OUA title. She has also played men’s lacrosse at the Junior B level with the Wallaceburg Red Devils.
“Proving that I could play men’s lacrosse at the level I did gave me a sense of confidence that I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else,” VanDamme explained. “In Wallaceburg, I was never treated any differently because I was a girl, my teammates became some of my best friends, and coaches pushed me just as hard as the boys. Having to prove myself outside of Wallaceburg helped me attain a high level of determination, work ethic, respect and coachability that I think is very important to have in sport.”
VanDamme has played on the National level, helping Team Ontario win medals, and she feels lacrosse is a sport young girls should look to trying.
“I think young girls everywhere should play lacrosse because it really does make you tough, both mentally and physically. It’s a great way to relieve stress, have fun, and push yourself to new limits.”
Having faced adversity of her own while playing lacrosse across Canada, VanDamme has a message for other young women, and knows the power of sport.
“To all the young female athletes I would say this: you will face adversity on your journey, but it’s important to keep pushing forward and do what you love to do. Sports can open so many doors for female athletes as long as you keep at it and are continuously trying to improve your game.”
“Sports have helped me in so many different facets of my life. The work ethic, strength, determination, and mental toughness that playing sports allowed me to develop also have a huge impact outside of the sports realm—particularly in my academics and workplace. I have also had the opportunity to meet some amazing people through sports and can honestly say that some of my teammates have turned into family.”
Happy International Women’s Day!