Sport: Field Hockey
Hometown: Victoria, BC
As an introduction, my name is Maddie Secco and I am a member of the Canadian Women’s National Field Hockey Team. Since 2011, I have committed my life to this program because I am passionate about field hockey, honoured to represent Canada and driven to reach my childhood dream of competing in the Olympic Games. Although this journey has been rewarding, it has not always been easy.
In 2015, our National side showed great potential for success. We narrowly missed the 2016 Olympics, but our team was young, with room for improvement. Our sights were set on earning a spot in the World Cup, which would showcase the top 16 nations. The 2017 World Cup qualifier would be hosted in Vancouver, our home training grounds – what an opportunity to showcase our hard work!
With the crowd behind us, our Canadian side believed we would medal and secure a World Cup berth. Devastatingly, we drastically underperformed, lost a crucial match to a team who was ranked below us, and finished a long way off our goal.
This result marked the most heart-wrenching of my career, as it happened in front of family and friends who have supported and believed in me for years. It stung even more, knowing that our Canadian team had so much potential – more than enough to qualify for the World Cup. To top it off, after witnessing this performance, our main funding provider, Own The Podium, decided to cut all ties with us. At this point our program was without financial stability, and most frightening, without belief in the teams’ future success.
Two things stand out, when I think about why I continue to Compete for Canada.
The first is my sheer passion for sport. I love pushing the limit and the feeling after a hard workout, when there’s nothing left in the tank. I love that I can work on my athletic incompetency’s and see improvement – that there’s no limit to what one can learn. And, I value the life skills that I’ve developed, and the bonds I’ve made with different people, all thanks to sport.
The second is my hope to inspire the next generation of athletes. I remember having Kara Lang as a role model, when I was ten years old. I dreamed of playing soccer for Canada, just like her. Having someone to look up to who forged the path, inspired me and showed me what was attainable. It was very important for my athletic development, and I would be honoured if I was able to set an example for even one aspiring athlete!
As I mentioned earlier, our Canadian Field Hockey Team’s funding was cut last year. For a few months, we were forced into a “pay to play,” model, where we had to give back a percentage of our monthly stipend, in order to continue training. It became almost impossible to avoid debt, as we still had to finance our own lives, but did not have time for jobs, due to our demanding practice schedule.
By becoming an Astra Athletica Ambassador, finances will be less of a concern. I will not have to worry about paying my rent on time and I will have proper funds for groceries, which will fuel my athletic performance! Essentially, I will be able to stop sweating the small things, and put all of my focus on becoming the best field hockey player I can.
Of course, becoming an Ambassador also means I get new Astra Athletica gear, which will guarantee that I’ll look super stylish at the gym! No complaints there! Thanks Brent and Nadina!