Victoria Nielsen

S: So to start, what sports have you done in life, how long have you done them, and have you gotten any awards or leadership positions?
V: So I play basketball and I do track and field. I’ve done basketball for four and track for three. I haven’t specifically gotten any awards but our track team girls won the Team Sportsmanship Award.
S: PRs?
V: I had a lot of PRs this year in track because you’re always competing against yourself and that’s the entire sport. I’ve had PRs in basketball. Started actually scoring, thinking about shots rather than flinging them.
S: Aw haha yeah! So how did you get into your sports
V: I’ve always loved basketball, I’ve done a lot of basketball camps. When I got to high school I thought it’d be pretty fun to do a sport and it was like a long process of me thinking about it and then 9th grade talking to Belqeis and Belqeis being like “do it with me!” um, so Belqeis gets a lot of credit for it so I was like “I probably will!” And I was talking to a lot of people about basketball and bowling and playing and one of my sister’s friends was like “Do basketball it’s more fun than bowling and it’s an actual sport,” that was Serena. That was how I got into basketball. For track, I got into it for high jump and Floyd was like, “You should do it,” and I was like, “I’ll think about it,” and Eleanor was like, “Please do it, I’m alone,” so I was like, “alright cool.” Then I got into shotput because I didn’t like running and Floyd was like, “She’s gonna do shot put now so she doesn’t have to run,” and I was like, “alright cool.” And it was actually really fun, so.
S: How long have you done basketball?
V: I did like camps over the summer in lower school but I didn’t really do a team or anything like that.
S: Mm yeah. So do you have any role models?
V: Um…
*Bill interrupts*
V: Sue Bird from the Storm, she’s like 37 and still playing. I heard her on the radio and they were talking about her staying in shape, and she said, “Well, I’ve found if you never get out of shape, you never have to get in shape.” and I was like, “That’s the goal.” But yeah, it’s just like, I don’t know, she also mentioned, or they asked her – because the Storm had drafted a new point guard – they were like “are you upset about that?” because in like football drafts, NFL drafts, one team drafted a new QB but the QB from that team was very pissed off and upset about it and Sue was like, “I mean I’m sure there’s a difference between basketball and football, but I’m so happy to see the franchise continue and be able to help her and have someone else who can step in when I step off, and being 37 I would like to step off more.” It was sort of just like, all around a good person and a good athlete.
S: Oh definitely. So growing up, what were some obstacles you’ve faced?
V: Um, I don’t know, I feel like there’s just like a mental game of getting frustrated and having to push through that, like in shot put especially and high jump like you can get stuck at a height or a distance and that’s frustrating, especially when you know like everything is going well, you’re just not using something and you can’t figure out how to. I don’t know. Like, yeah.
S: Yeah for sure. Like for me it’s overcoming my expecations and meeting others, a whole confidence thing. Basketball is super intense.
V: Yeah. I mean I feel like my freshman year with basketball, I had no idea what I was walking into, because I’d never been on a team. And then, I don’t know, I just like enjoyed it and then Floyd was always like, “you’re scared of me,” but I’d be like, “I’m not scared of you Floyd, I’m scared of disappointing you.”
S: Aww. But you’ve been like grinding too, you’re literally always working on basketball.
V: It was kind of like that fear of disappoint him drove me further because I was like I can’t disappoint him and it was fun and it feels good to workout so I was just like, yeah
S: Yeah I got you. What about any obstacles with being a girl?
V: Um, I feel like the biggest thing would just be with the boys teams sometimes and like when I’m trying to do preseason workouts and they’re using the whole gym and they’re trying to get me to leave and I’m like, “I have a right to half the gym,” and they’re like, “but we need the whole gym,” and I’m like, “but you don’t, because you’re not even allowed to have practice right now.” and it’s just frustrating because it’s like when there’s only 1 or 3 of us out there, they don’t view us as a proper team and the coaches try to include us but the players won’t, so.
S: The coaches were wack.
V: No yeah, the coaches were the worst. But it was either like, “play with us or get out.”
S: Yeah.
V: And it’s like, “I don’t want to play with you because the boys on your team aren’t gonna pass to me, they’re not gonna include me even if i try to get the ball, they’re not going to.” So it’s like… yeah
S: What are ways that you’ve worked to overcome your obstacles?
V: I think using the same preseason stuff, I would continue to be there and try to be there every day to show them that I’m here and I want to improve and I’m here to do that just like you, just bc my entire team isn’t here because they’re doing other sports or they have school doesn’t mean we’re not a team and we’re not good and we’re don’t have a right to be here.
S: Especially when we’re literally better than them. But it’s fine! Whatever!
V: Yeah exactly!
S: Um, what about like the whole frustration thing?
V: One thing that’s good for shot put is that you scream when you throw and that helps you. So it’s like, that kind of helps sometimes is just like getting out my frustrations by practicing that. And then kinda just like sticking with it and trusting that I know what I’m doing and that I’m gonna get there. Getting back to the basics and getting into the minor routines you can do.
S: What kept you playing your sports?
V: Um, I think with basketball it was just like really fun and I liked working out and I always felt good after I worked out and it was like my stress reliever. It kind of became the same with track. Yet I feel like I get a better workout with basketball and I look forward more to basketball than I do to track. I get tired of track really easily. But it’s also like in track you’re using one part of your body the whole time whereas with basketball you’re using every part of your body so some parts get to rest. I also just like the team and I have friends and I enjoy the atmosphere.
S: Yeah. So do you have any athletic goals for the future?
V: I would like to continue to play basketball. I don’t know if I’ll continue at track because I’m not like fabulous at any part of it. But I was thinking about continuing basketball in college.
S: Def play basketball dude. Anyway, 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 because it can get to be a lot harder for girls to stick with sports and get that sort of push towards athletics, especially in the higher levels.
V: I mean you look at the WNBA and the NBA and the NBA they just go down and shoot and doesn’t have defensive and doesn’t have any of that but the WNBA is actual basketball.
S: Oh my god yeah that’s actually the worst. I did a whole project in my english class about that last term. And they’re always like, “Oh if we lower the rim then the women can dunk and more people will care!” Which is the stupidest thing. Some of them can dunk anyway!
V Yeah exactly!
S: They’re like actually so good skill-wise.
V: I watched the USA womens and China women’s game and they were hedging, they were screening, I was like, “Oh my god,” I was like about to text the chat like “they are goals, you guys better do this, they hedge SO WELL.” Oh my god, I was dying. It was just so swift and so many of them have been playing together their entire lives so they just know exactly where each other will be on the court.
S: Dude… that’s awesome. You should’ve texted! *laughs* yeah the women are honestly so good they deserve so much more. Anyway so yeah, I’m going to be presenting to young students to educate them about things like that and more so to empower them to play sports! Is there anything you’d like to tell them?
V: Um, I feel like, just for guys and girls, it’s not always easy to identify when you’re being pushed down because you’re a girl or when you’re pushing someone else down because they’re a girl and you might not notice that. So I feel like just being more aware of that and noticing it and if you’re noticing someone pushing against you, continue to push against them. Like work for it, and like persevere and show them that you can do it. Prove them wrong.