Who are our athletes inspired by?
Our Wilfrid Laurier University athletes work continuously to be better. However, they revealed that they each had something that helped inspire them and ignite their passion to be a dominant competitor in sports. They revealed that inspiration comes from numerous contributing factors, one of which is a professional player to look up to and aspire to be.
This month our Laurier star athletes shared what player or players they saw growing up that helped contribute to their motivation to be the best they can be.
Tyler Stothers, men’s hockey captain, models his game after captains playing in the NHL. He initially chose the obvious Sidney Crosby, then decided on Jonathon Toews and David Backes.
“[Backes] is a leader of his team in many facets of the game and that is something that I try to do and something that I am trying to improve upon as well. I have always enjoyed watching guys like Toews where everything is all about winning [because] it’s something I have always been huge on,” he said.
Stothers explained that he really appreciates the competitive drive Toews and Backes show.
“I’m probably one of the most competitive guys on our team, and so when you watch guys like that play you can’t help but to marvel at how competitive they are even at that level,” he said.
Women’s basketball centre Whitney Ellenor gains inspiration from WNBA all-star and Olympic champion Lisa Leslie. She explained it’s not only due to her on-the-court performance, but also her off-the-court actions.
“She’s retired now, but does a lot to give back to the community. She is a perfect example of using sport to help others. I love doing volunteer work and see her as someone to look up to,” she said.
Ellenor volunteers at her old high school in Pickering, helping out with coaching basketball.
She also helps with the Succeed Clean Program in Waterloo, which brings athletes into elementary and high schools to teach them about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.
Jordan Petruska has been one of Laurier’s most dominant pitchers on the men’s baseball team, posting a 1.94 ERA in 2013.
Since pitchers don’t play every game, preparation becomes a large part of their ability to perform. Petruska gains inspiration from watching professionals train and from watching their preparation techniques.
“Looking at off-field workouts I look up to a guy like Roy Halladay, and even going to football, Peyton Manning. Their pedigree starts with their determination and their hard work off the field,” he said.
In terms of pitching itself, there is one person in particular Petruska looks up to for his mindset and raw talent.
“When it comes to game day I really look up to LA Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett,” Petruska said. “He always had that attitude with a chip on his shoulder when he’s throwing … he’s got a lot of guts and courage and I really look up to that kind of style of pitching.”
These athletes excel for their own reasons and have been motivated through different mediums. However, the one unmistakable commonality is their ability to channel their motivation into results, which allows them to be the leaders their teams need them to be, game in, and game out.