Sara Pollack-Toro

SO: What sports have you done?
SA: I did soccer when I was little but I don’t do it anymore, I play basketball and I dance.
SO: How long have you done each?
SA: I’ve been playing basketball since 7th grade – so 3 years – and I’ve danced since I was 3, so 12 years.
SO: How did you get into your sports?
SA: Dance, I think my mom just signed me up and it became my thing. Basketball, my older brother played basketball when he was younger and I always liked it and in 7th grade I actually signed up to play.
SO: What kind of drew you into each of your sports?
SA: Basketball I think it’s definitely like the team aspect and just like the little successes you have while playing just bring a lot of satisfaction to it. Dance has been a very good coping mechanism and has really been there throughout my life.
SO: Did you have any role models growing up?
SA: Um, dance I don’t have any. But basketball… I like [Alana Beard?], she’s in the WNBA. She’s my favorite, for sure.
SO: Do you watch any sports on TV?
SA: Yeah, I watch women’s college basketball and then WNBA and NBA
SO: So mostly womens’ sports?
SA: Yeah.
SO: What about the Olympics?
SA: Love the Olympics and the World Cups.
SO: Do you ever notice yourself defaulting to certain sports or genders in sports?
SA: Yeah, I think in the Olympics I probably watch more mens sports, especially like with soccer. More men’s soccer. Track and Field I’ll watch more women’s track and field but that’s really it.
SO: What sort of obstacles did you face growing up?
SA: Dance, definitely like body positivity. I dance at a place that’s very supportive of different body types but generally that’s been a hurdle. Basketball, I think like losing can be tough sometimes. Overcoming losing and even having teammates who you don’t necessarily love or get along with – overcoming that for the success of the team.
SO: What about being a woman?
SA: Yeah, I mean I’d say like a lot of times, like my male friends are scrimmaging or just hanging out or something like that, they don’t consider me as someone who wants to participate because I’m a girl. So usually when they’re like looking for someone, or they need another person to play because they don’t have enough numbers, they’ll find a guy who has never played the sport or doesn’t like the sport over me. So that comes up a lot.
SO: What about being a person of color, especially at Bush?
SA: Yeah, I don’t know, I mean it’s interesting. I guess I’ve just never thought about the way that intersects with sports.
SO: Yeah, because I know for me it’s hard because ultimate is so much whiter than basketball and switching between the two.
SA: Yeah I mean I guess being Latina and playing basketball… Like if you’re Latino or Latina you’re supposed to be playing soccer so like that kinda thing. People always expected me to be good at soccer but I can’t play soccer for my life. And for basketball, like the stereotype for Latinas being short, it’s definitely not like something people would suspect that I do.
SO: what do you love about your sports?
SA: I just love it all around, it’s good.
SO: For sure. So do you have any athletic goals for the future?
SA: Just you know, like really developing good work ethic. In sport and practicing and getting better individually but also making sure that success carries over to the team and making sure you’re a team player too. Really playing the part I need to for the success of the team.
SO: Last question, at the end of my project I’m going to be presenting to young students about everything I’ve learned and my goal is to educate them on what it’s like growing up as a woman in athletics but also empower the young girls to play sports. So is there anything you’d like to tell them?
SA: Yeah, um, I’d definitely say don’t get discouraged, because I see a lot of girls in sports think, “Oh, maybe this isn’t for me, so I’ll just stop.” So you know,… If you really like something stick with it and if you don’t then try and find something you do like. Make sure you stick with what you’re doing and make sure you’re enjoying whatever you’re doing.