Versatile athletes thrive through multiple sports

Seniors believe passion for athletics stems from ability to play array of sports

sports ladies
From left: Shannon Goetz, Kristen Solbrack, and Rachel Lane are seniors graduating in May. Their love for sports started when they were young. Photo by Maddie Malat.

In an afternoon long conversation with three graduating mathematics majors, Shannon Goetz, Rachel Lane and Kristen Solbrack, I learned a lot about their love for sports. Goetz is a fan of endurance and precision sports such as skiing and hunting, while Lane and Solbrack enjoy both basketball and golf respectively.

Being an individual whose beloved sports are not often televised, Goetz gets her fix of some of her favorite sports when the Olympics are on. According to Goetz, she has always enjoyed watching the Olympics because the competition features two of her favorite activities: the cross country skiing and shooting aspect of the biathlon.

“I really like the biathlon in the Olympics because it’s the two best things – cross country skiing and shooting,” Goetz said. “I’m like you can’t get anything better than that.”

Goetz mentioned her passion for skiing came from her parents both of whom had skiing experience. Goetz’s father was a ski patrol and her mother worked as a ski instructor. Throughout most of her childhood she accompanied her parents during their skiing adventures, which lead her to develop her own skills.

Goetz proceeded to explain why the biathlon’s allure is the athletes ability to handle a gun while they perform physical exercise. According to Goetz, activities like shooting are more about honing the skill than working out the body.

“It’s hard to shoot a gun when your heart’s racing because you are skiing,” Goetz said. “You’re working out. They have to practice being able to shoot when their heart rate is really going.”

The skill and focus required for the safe completion of a biathlon is one of the main tasks Goetz appreciates from the sport. As Goetz explained how to stop on the ice and hit a target to perfection, her close friend Lane reflected on the skiing aspect of the biathlon. According to Lane, and her skiing experience was not a satisfying physical activity, that basketball brings her.

Being a fan of various sports, including basketball, Lane enjoys games that have more skill facets in them, and minimal endurance tests. Apart from watching March Madness, Lane also enjoys golf, and shooting; both in the range and on the basketball court.

“I like basketball because it’s a lot of different things and I really like shooting,” Lane said. “That’s all I ever practiced with my dad. We would play “horse” a lot or he would just rebound for me, and I would just shoot for hours.”

Like Goetz, accuracy in shooting a basketball was a skill Lane looked to improve constantly while playing with her dad. However, long before a love for playing basketball developed, it was all about the medals.

“In elementary, they have sports [but] my parents never signed me up for anything,” Lane said. “And then one day [kids] came back from the weekend and they all wore their medals to school, and I was like – uh I want a medal.”

And that was how Lane was taken by sports and basketball. Not only were the “horse” games with her dad helpful, enrolling in her school’s basketball program led to an interest in improving as a basketball player. By her senior year of high school, Lane was a starter on the school’s varsity team. It was a long way from medals and 3rd grade.

Another eclectic sports fan who got her beginnings from her family members includes

Solbrack. The senior who played for Concordia’s golf team for two season, started going to golf courses as a baby, strapped on the back seat of a golf cart with her grandmother.

“I have been doing [sports] since I could crawl,” Solbrack said. “My mom’s side, they are all golfers.”

On her mother’s side of the family, there are two members who are involved in professional golf. According to Solbrack, one of her relatives is a pro golfer, and one of her aunts owns a pro golf store. With the strong foundation, Solbrack was able to move a golf ball on the green before she could utter her first sentence.

“When I could crawl, they gave me a ball and I would just push the ball along,” Solbrack said. “And then when I could finally walk, they gave me my first set of plastic clubs.”

As a child, Solbrack participated in most sports in school. Solbrack remembers being enrolled in basketball, soccer, gymnastics, ballet, tennis, golf and softball – by the age of five. For her, this was a chance to pick the ones she enjoyed the most and stick with them.

By the time Solbrack got to middle school and high school, she decided to stick with tennis, golf, and basketball. Unfortunately, she ended up quitting basketball because of an injury.

“I hurt my knee in sophomore year of high school,” Solbrack said. “I wasn’t able to play anymore, so I took stats for the team.”

Initially Solbrack thought she would be able to get back to basketball. However, her injury affected the ability of her knee to take impact and she decided to quit. Two years later, her interest in sports led her to another activity she had not practiced before – hockey.

“Skating is gliding and you have so much padding around you so that worked a lot better,” Solbrack said.

Solbrack finished the season as the team’s most improved player. When she started at Concordia she had to choose between playing tennis and golf, and ended up deciding to play for Concordia’s golf team. During her time on the team she continued to play tennis by joining the tennis club. These actions enabled Solbrack to get a chance to play her favorite sport in the summer when the courts are green.

In an afternoon that included M&Ms, math homework and sports, it was interesting to learn about the different ways these young women picked up when things got tough, kept practicing and watching the sports they love. Whether it is endurance, team building or family bonding – all these ladies have things that keep them interested in sports. Lane put it best when she described why she loves basketball.

“It’s a way to be with other people” Lane said. “I like the being on a team – the team atmosphere and I like the comradery.”

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