The Oberlin Review

In the Locker Room with Taylor Swift, Kendra Lian and Sophie Weinstein

Taylor Swift (left), Kendra Lian and Sophie Weinstein

Benjamin Shepherd, Photo editor

Taylor Swift (left), Kendra Lian and Sophie Weinstein

Sarena Malsin, Sports Editor

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This week, the Review sat down with field hockey seniors Sophie Weinstein, Kendra Lian and Taylor Swift to discuss nostalgia, personal development and the benefits of a positive team environment.

How did your last game go?

Taylor Swift: Our last game was against Kenyon [College], who’s number one in our conference. They scored twice on us in the first five minutes, and we were like, “This is going to be 70 minutes of awful.” But then we held them for 65 minutes!

Kendra Lian: The funny thing about our team this season has been that we respond when something stressful happens first, so after be­ing scored on, then we wake up and we play more cohesively as a unit. So even during the last game, that’s ex­actly what happened. It took us five minutes to really wake up, and then it was one of our best games.

Sophie Weinstein: And it was just a really wonderful way to go out be­cause we played so well as a team, and I’m pretty sure that’s why, at the end of it, we were all really emotional. Taylor also got concussed, so she was emotional for that reason too.

TS: This time it was by an AllAmerican, and not by a wall …

So you guys were emotional when the game ended?

SW: I was personally really, really emotional, and we all sat in the cage and started talking, and then I was bawling my eyes out.

TS: Also, our freshman year, our last game against Kenyon was our best game, and we won 1–0. It was a complete underdog thing. So [this game] was like completing a full cycle.

KL: That’s still, to this day, one of the best games I’ve ever played. So yeah, it was nice to end on that good note, and even though we didn’t win, we played really well. And like we said, when we were gathered around the cage and said positive things, [it was clear] there was something that everyone had done during that game that was just awesome. It to­tally showed how we had grown as a team and as individuals as well. So that was really awesome.

How has the team evolved over the course of your careers?

KL: It’s always really hard to tran­sition when you have a new coach, so [Taylor and I] came in with a new coach, and she was with us for our first three seasons, and just this year we got another new coach. Collec­tively, what I’ve gained from my time being here is that we have evolved to have a much more competitive, cohesive mindset, and we’ve all been slowly getting to the point where we’re playing not just because we love it, but because we also want to win.

TS: Also, I think our team has probably had the most struggles. When half of your team quits — that happened going into our junior season — when we had people who had never played field hockey be­fore coming on to the team, which we loved, but at the same time that doesn’t happen with most of the teams here. That learning process, and also all the injuries our team has had, it just piles on and piles on.

SW: [Half the team quitting] is one of the reasons I joined. I think this year with Coach [Tiffany Saun­ders] coming in, and Coach [Adrian­na Napoletano] coming in, our team had a whole new energy. And they are both so excited to be here. It feels like a new start for the program, and we had a huge freshman class come in [this season], all really amazing, and I think those things combined brought in this really fresh vitality to the team. I think the program’s going to be really successful.

Do you have one best memory of your career?

TS: The Kenyon game from our freshman year. It’s picture perfect in my head: This player who graduated last year, Jody, she had been practic­ing chip shots in practice and never could get it, and then in the game, with 10 minutes left — Kenyon had shot, like, 30 times, and we had one shot on goal — she made this beau­tiful goal off a chip, went right over the goalie’s head, and did this High School Musical-type dance. The other team just started crying.

KL: Oh yeah, I remember that. Like Beverly Hills style, this one girl just dropped on the floor, dropped her stick and cried.

TS: Everyone was just playing out of their mind that day.

SW: I have so many highlights. I have so many favorite memories with this team, but I think after our last game, just sitting and talking, and saying goodbye. I’m so in love with every woman on this team, and it really felt like a family sitting there, and that’s something I’ll al­ways remember and hold with me, and I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to feel that.

What is one of the most signif­icant ways being on the team has affected you?

TS: Honestly, the reason I came here was for field hockey, and it’s the reason I love Ober­lin, just the team that I came in with, they helped me grow so much as an individual. Hockey has helped me bring out the competitive side in me, but in a safe way. I’m at the point where it’s like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just love hockey too much.”

KL: I’ve had a lot of great things happen while I’ve been here, but just the team experi­ence, to say that I’ve gotten to be a part of this family for the past four years, has made my deci­sion to come here so gratifying. Obviously, it’s not always about winning, and I have definitely learned a lot of lessons about myself and about how to inter­act in a team dynamic, especially for someone who’s more intro­verted. There’s a lot to be said for thinking every person on the team has something to offer, has something to teach you, and it’s been really awesome playing with everyone.

SW: I actually spent two years at Oberlin not being an athlete. It’s been really interesting liv­ing life here as an athlete versus a non-athlete, and I don’t think I’ve fully processed everything I’ve gained from this team, be­cause it’s so much. I’ve never felt confident in my body, like I’ve never felt strong before; I’ve never felt like I can accomplish something physically. It’s always been something I’m really ter­rified of — competing athleti­cally. But this season, I realized I could be really fast, like I could beat someone to a ball. There was one time during a game where I was running to a ball and two other girls were run­ning with me, and I beat them. That was huge for me, because I have never been able to do that before. So athletically, it’s been really important, and it’s made me a lot more confident in my­self. The other biggest thing is the people. Any time you spend this much intimate time with re­ally incredible people you gain a lot and you learn a lot about how to interact with people who are really different from you because you’re part of a community.

KL: Another thing is that I think our team overall fosters a very healthy attitude about body image, especially. Because ev­eryone comes from a different background, but we all come in with these stereotypes of what beauty looks like and what an ideal body type is, especially an athletic body type, and I always have been insecure about my body structure, and I don’t feel that insecurity anymore. All of us are so positive about everything. It’s never about bringing each other down. It’s just been about emphasizing the good parts of each of us and bringing out the beautiful parts of each of us.

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