WEEK #24: AALIYAH E.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Aaliyah Edwards. I was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario.
I come from a very athletic family so growing up I played multiple sports. In fact I played on almost every sports team at my elementary school but Track and Field and Basketball were my favorite sports.
I started playing competitive basketball in grade 6 with my city’s Club Team (Kingston Impact) where my mom and oldest brother, and eventually Coach Carmen were my coaches. Around that same time, I also competed in cross country and track events. In fact I set a District High School Record in the 200m (27.19 sec) in grade 8.
Fast forward to high school, while in Grade 10, I competed at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association for both Track and Field and Senior Girls Basketball. I placed 2nd in 300m hurdles and Triple Jump, and my basketball team finished first in Div 2. Prior to that I had also made the 2016 Ontario Provincial Basketball Team. It was shortly after making this team that I decided to really focus on developing into an elite basketball player. Since making this decision, I’ve competed with the Provincial Team twice, represented my country on the national stage for 4 consecutive years, moved to another city to attend school (Crestwood Preparatory College), competed in the All-Canadian Biosteel games and have had many opportunities to play in several high profile basketball tournaments and events. It’s crazy to think that I was just 14 years old when I was first selected to play for the Canadian National Women’s Basketball Team and now at age 17, I am not only a member of the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team but also the youngest member on the squad! My dream is to make the 2021 Olympic team and have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal!! With all that said I am truly blessed with all the opportunities I have had and continue to have but in all honesty wouldn’t be the person I am today without my family. Their support and encouragement have helped me to be where I am today.
What is the best advice you’ve received as a leader or athlete? How do you apply this advice?
The best advice I’ve received as a leader and an athlete is “You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable”. Meaning, it’s good to feel uncomfortable because it helps you overcome your fears and uncertainties in life. This quote resonates with me in everything that I do. Whether that be presentations in class, introducing myself to strangers, or learning a new move/skill in ball that feels “awkward”…. There are so many situations that I encounter on a daily basis where I can relate this quote to. I have been able to grow as a student-athlete and a person by flourishing in uncomfortable situations and gaining success from it.
What are some strategies you use to balance sport and academics?
Some strategies that I use to balance academics and sport is time management and communicating with my teachers/coaches. By planning out my day and managing my time with various assignments It allows me to be more organized. I set aside time for school work and then plan time for basketball training and strength & conditioning workouts. In addition, my approach in balancing academics and sports is to ensure everyone involved such as my teachers and coaches are always kept informed so we can all work together and make any adjustments necessary to achieve this balance. As a student-athlete, both of these strategies are critical to my development and success.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?
The advice I would give to parents, coaches, or sport administrators to improve sport for females is to advocate for equal opportunity and increased awareness of the accomplishments of women’s sport on a consistent basis. The contribution can be as little as posting articles or empowering players on social media platforms or as big as 52 Strong Campaign where you can read about a whole page of amazing young women whose stories will motivate you.
Growing up I would have more access to NBA games but rarely any WNBA games. You would have to