Giving people the opportunity to have incredible conversations is something that Alex specialises in. The Charity that she has founded takes professional sports women and men and uses their knowledge of sport and pressure to help mentor young people. Enjoy this brilliant letter of hers.
Dear Young Sports People,
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”
Ok, so I have stolen the quote above from a powerful sporting role model in Mia Hamm, but it resonates so, so much with me. Why? Because I forgot why I was playing hockey when I was younger; my biggest love became my worst enemy. I also use any opportunity to highlight when a sporting role model uses their platform for positive social change.
When I was your age, I was just a girl that had fallen in love with sport, I love the emotion that it brings, the togetherness, the unity and the level playing field that it creates. My love for hockey and my desire to play for England took me across the UK and around the world until I eventually made the U16 England trials that I had dreamt of since the age of 6. It was at these trials, that I didn’t succeed, I wasn’t selected, and it was the first time that I felt like I had failed. I placed internal pressure on myself and I felt like I had let my family and coaches down. I struggled significantly with my mental health.
What had I forgotten? I had forgotten that passion should be at the forefront of what I do, and for everyone for that matter.
What is your passion? As long as you are enjoying activities that you are passionate about, your right pathway will fall into place. Whatever you go on to do, make sure you are passionate about it, my passion is sport, but yours might be music, art, drama, whatever it is, enjoy that journey! Success means different things to different people and that’s ok. What if I had a mentor? Someone that had already been through the hockey system, had played for England, they’d faced the challenges? That’s why Mintridge was born – having RELATABLE role models for all young people.
I found it hard to see what was achievable in life because female sporting role models were limited when I was growing up. “YOU CANNOT BE WHAT YOU CANNOT SEE” and I want every young person to be able to look up to someone that looks like them, and they can aspire to achieve great things, just like them. Embrace the live sport that is back in action, and remember, just as Alex Yee highlighted after winning his Olympic Silver Medal recently, he is also just a HUMAN!
This is my purpose now. What is your purpose? What helps you get up and take on the day? Remember that failure is just feedback and always be true to YOURSELF. In the words of Deaflympian, Fil Kamps, dream big, work hard, and stay humble! Be kind to yourself & have fun!
Love Paskey x
Alex Wallace is the Founder and Managing Director of the Mintridge Foundation. Established in 2015, Mintridge has worked with over 60,000 young people. Alex was awarded the 2018 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year in the Grassroots Category, the Women of the Future Sport Award in 2017 alongside Dr Sarah Leiter and she is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Mintridge is a registered charity dedicated to enhancing life skills in young people through sport; providing a support network for young people by harnessing the power of positive sporting role models. The Mintridge Foundation assists young people of all ages, abilities and physical capabilities to develop confidence and resilience, and creates awareness of the importance of mental and physical wellbeing through sport.