Aug. 10, 2023Print | PDF
Laurier is home to more than 550 varsity athletes on 22 teams and the university has claimed 15 national and 76 provincial championships in the past decade. As the university’s student-athletes will tell you, juggling studies and athletics means staying organized.
On Laurier’s Brantford campus, students can participate in varsity cross country and indoor soccer teams; extramural hockey, basketball and volleyball teams; and sport clubs focused on dance, cheerleading and flag football. In addition, intramural sports are offered throughout the fall and winter terms.
Meet five student-athletes studying at Laurier’s Brantford campus, who discuss how they strike a balance between academics and athletics and how participating in Golden Hawks sports enhanced their Laurier experience.
Criminology, second year, Basketball
Playing on the team was super fun and a great way for me to meet new people on campus that had the same interests and experiences as me. I joined to stay active and to continue my basketball career into my later life.
It was pretty easy to balance athletics and school as I’ve been a student-athlete my whole life, so it wasn't very difficult to manage. As long as you have a good sleep schedule, eat enough and make time for school and work to be done, whether it’s on the bus to a game or in between classes, you will be fine.
I would definitely say to participate. As a student, school obviously comes first, but it’s important to make time for extracurricular activities. It’s a super easy and convenient way to make friends and stay active. There’s travel involved, so I also got to see a lot of places I had never seen before.
I was skeptical about joining athletics in my first year of university, but it ended up being a great decision. I made connections and friends I wouldn’t have made if I decided not to join the basketball team.
Digital Media and Journalism, second year, Hockey
It was awesome representing the Golden Hawks. I had a blast on the team and it was an honour to wear the Laurier jersey. It was even better being able to wear the logo playing against other schools, as not every university student has this opportunity.
I managed to balance the team and other activities by making a schedule for myself and being able to complete my assignments on time. It was good also that there were enough team practices but not too many that it was too tiring or too time consuming. I managed to avoid burnout by making sure I made time for myself and that school, work and sports didn’t take up the entirety of my day.
The team was a lot of fun. It reminded me of my childhood hockey playing days. When I played my last year before university, I thought it was over for me and hockey, but Laurier Brantford's team gave me another team to play for. I also got to meet a ton of people and it really made me feel more accepted as a Golden Hawk. Being a part of a team, especially any school sports team, is an unmatched feeling. The team didn’t take up too much of my time. It was good to have it to play hockey, but I didn’t feel like it was too overwhelming.
I got to meet a ton of great people and coaches just from being a part of the team. Without the hockey team I would have never met these people. Being a part of a team is a great feeling, as well as being able to wear the school logo. We also had some great fans come out to our games and that was an amazing feeling. Sports brings people together in a positive way and hockey has an incredible community behind it.
I knew I was going to try out for the team even before I came to Laurier, mainly because my older brother had played and he recommended it to me. The Laurier Brantford Golden Hawks’ social media posts also helped convince me to really go for it. The Golden Hawks are a ton of fun and more people should come out and play.
Health Management, second year, Soccer
Playing for the Golden Hawks has been such an incredible experience. I made many new friends and learned so many valuable lessons. I can’t wait for next season. I initially joined because I am a very athletic person and soccer has been a huge part of my life over the last 15 years. I wanted to get involved during my first year and have something fun to look forward to in addition to schoolwork and classes.
The most important thing for me was staying organized. I made sure to write out all my class times and due dates. I also made sure to include all of my practice times, as well as tournament dates. This helped me balance school with soccer, as well as manage my time wisely.
Getting involved with Laurier’s athletic opportunities has been the most rewarding experience. I can’t recommend it enough. You will connect with teammates, teachers, coaches and friends that will translate throughout your time as a Golden Hawk.
Playing on the soccer team allowed me to connect with older students, not just students in my year. They provided me with tips and information and provided guidance that I might not have been able to find had I not joined the team.
User Experience Design, fourth year, Volleyball and Soccer
Playing for the school sports teams was an exciting and rewarding experience. It gave me an opportunity to develop my athletic skills, work as a team member and compete against other schools. Varsity indoor soccer allowed me to practice and play at a high level and putting on the jersey was a chance for me to show schools what Laurier’s Brantford campus offers at a competitive level. Representing the volleyball team was a similar experience, as it offered high-level play but more of a tournament format. It was an opportunity to leave a mark at every tournament as a Golden Hawk.
It was very difficult at first as I was not used to being in so many roles at once. My goal when I arrived at Laurier was to make an impact in every possible way and try things that might seem overwhelming. I was shaping my experience playing two sports; being a residence don and a student; a First-Year Leadership Program advisor; content creator for both residence and my program association; and working for the YMCA as a student leader. I wanted to do all of this to make lifelong friends, as well as make other students' experience at Laurier be the best it can possibly be. I stayed organized using a calendar and priority list, time management, and connected with professors when I needed support.
You don’t have to be the most skilled athlete. If you want to find potentially lifelong friends, are looking to try something new, or want to improve your athletic abilities, be a part of it. Being a Golden Hawk is something to be proud of. To incoming students, don’t be afraid of the transition from high school to university, trust me. Get out there and be a Golden Hawk.
Participating in school athletics enhanced my university experience by giving me room to work on my physical health. I’ve gone through times when I’d be very deep in school work for weeks and forget to go for a walk. It also helped me push myself when I didn’t believe I could do more mentally.
I joined the soccer and volleyball teams because they were the sports I loved playing growing up. I played soccer all my life, but volleyball started when I moved to Canada at the age of 14. I didn’t make the elementary school team, but I didn’t give up. I ended up playing all through high school and winning a banner with my team. I am also a goalkeeper for soccer, so volleyball was a smooth transition because of all the diving around.
Criminology, BA’23, Flag Football and Soccer
Initially, I had joined the soccer team as a way to gain a stronger sense of community within Laurier. Playing soccer at Laurier’s Brantford campus allowed me to both improve my skills as a player and represent my school while doing something I loved. Playing for the soccer team was amazing as the team and coaching staff were a great support system and having them around helped to really increase my confidence as a player and person. I had a similar experience playing for Laurier’s flag football team. I joined with the hopes this team would shape me into a better athlete and to just have fun – and that’s exactly what happened. Playing for the flag football team definitely had some big differences when compared to playing soccer. I didn’t have much experience playing flag football so I had to learn as I went, but the support of the team and coaching staff made it a pretty seamless experience. It made me feel like I was not alone and they helped to make sure I knew how to do what was expected of me. Playing for both of these teams definitely made me more proud to be a Golden Hawk and I felt a deeper appreciation for Laurier’s Brantford campus because I felt like I was truly a part of the community.
Playing on both teams definitely was a challenge. Peer support was honestly a huge help when it came to ensuring I wasn’t burning out. Since all of my teammates quickly became my friends, it was reassuring to know that we were all in the same boat and we really helped to motivate each other to make sure we were meeting all our academic deadlines. Staying organized played a huge role in helping me balance all of my commitments. I made a lot of priority lists when it came to things like assignments. This helped me to know what I needed to complete first and stay organized. By placing all my focus on just one task at a time, my workload felt a lot less overwhelming. I also listened to my body and prioritized sleep. There were days when I had early morning soccer practice at 6:30 a.m. and football practices that ran until 11:00 p.m. the same day, so I really made it a priority to make sure I got as much sleep as I could, which definitely helped.
To any incoming or current students thinking about joining the athletics department here at Laurier, try it out. I think it’s really important to make the most of your time at Laurier because it really does go by so fast. My only regret is not joining earlier. I’m a big believer that what you get out of things is also what you put into them, and getting involved is so important. You’re going to meet so many amazing people and improve as an athlete. It may seem intimidating at first, but everyone there truly really does want to see you succeed and do well.
I would say that playing sports for Laurier was the highlight of my time there. It improved my experience so much. All of the friends and memories that I made because of the Athletics and Recreation department are what I’m going look back on when I think of my time at Laurier. It made me feel so much more connected and involved and I am going to miss it. There’s something so special about playing on a team with your friends and I can’t recommend it enough. It also served as a sense of accomplishment for me because, regardless of the season's outcome, successfully completing a school year and graduating while being on two teams and was something for me to be proud of. Playing for the teams is something I will cherish forever and it made me appreciate my school so much more.
Those interested in learning more about athletic opportunities available on Laurier’s Brantford campus can visit brantford.laurierathletics.com or message the Brantford campus athletics page on Instagram, @laurierbrantfordgoldenhawks.
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