Girl Chat Questions with Megan Louwers
- When did your passion for soccer begin and what do you love most about playing soccer?
I’ve been playing soccer ever since I was 3. I always loved to play soccer, though it wasn’t until I was 10 and joined my first travel team that I found my passion for soccer. When I first joined the travel team I was one of the worst players on the team. Each day, I reminded myself that I had the desire to improve, and become one of the best. The coach I had was very skill minded and he taught me all these cool tricks that at first I struggled with, but later down the road, I could master them all. It was the creativity that comes with playing the sport of soccer, that started my passion. I messed around with the soccer skills that I learned, and practiced them for hours. Many times, I practiced them alone. Just me, the green grass, the blue sky and a soccer ball at my foot.
- How did you decide to join the club The NorseMen Knots?
When I was in eighth grade a few high school students came over to my middle school and talked to us about how important it was to become involved in activities and clubs in high school. Going into my Freshman year, I remembered the advice and felt obliged to find a club and somehow become active. I decided that I didn’t just want to join any club. I wanted to join a club where I could help others and make a difference. The Norsemen Knots club was a perfect fit for me. It was a small club where I would be able to sit with special needs kids at lunch and or help them out in their classroom.
Don’t let fear consume you. Try new things! It’s healthy to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Have your friends/family always been supportive of you following your dreams on and off the field?
Of all people, my family have been the most supportive in my pursuit of soccer. My parents are the ones who drove countless miles to take me to my soccer games and practices. I give them tons of credit, because I knew it wasn’t easy for them. They gave up hours of their free time to drive me all over the state of Michigan. Fun, right? In addition to driving me everywhere, they spent thousands of dollars paying for my travel soccer fees and summer soccer camps. My family isn’t extremely rich or anything, so at times money became tight for them. At one point, two of my other sisters were also playing travel soccer. My parents had to make many sacrifices in order to pay for all those soccer bills, and to keep us playing. My sisters were also very supportive… well at times. Despite having to beg them, and nearly dragging them out the door to practice soccer with me, it was always nice to have someone to practice with. It was the easiest for me to convince my little sister to come. I’d say to her, “Just come out with me and and I promise we’ll only practice for 30 minutes”. When 30 minutes of practicing was up I’d say, “Only 10 more minutes!”. Then when that time was up, I’d say, “Only 5 more minutes!”. Next thing you know an hour passes. I could only use that strategy for so long, before she knew that when I said, “Only 30 minutes!”, really meant over an hour.
- What was your experience with The NorseMen Knots like?
My experiences with being a member of the NorseMen Knots Club were some of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I joined this club thinking that I would make a difference in these kids lives, but instead they made a bigger difference in mine. The kids that I ate lunch with and worked with with were some of the sweetest, goofiest and happiest kids I’d ever met. These kids helped me out. They helped me see the world differently. For instance, one day after eating lunch, we went outside. One of the girls I ate lunch, Shannon, was picking dandelions in the courtyard. She thought these dandelions were so pretty and would pick a bunch saying she’d give them to her mom. As a kid I used to see dandelions as pretty flowers too, but as I grew up I learned that they were weeds and naturally began to see them as something invasive and ugly. Seeing Shannon pick those flowers with a smile brought this realization to my mind. Without her even knowing it, Shannon inspired me to not always see things one way, or as society labels it.
- What did you gain/take away most from your experience with The NorseMen Knots?
From my experience of being a member of the NorseMen Knots club I’ve made countless friends and memories. What I loved most about these kids were that they were innocent and non judgmental. For example, for lunch I packed myself some interesting combinations. Sometimes for lunch I’d pack sardines and avocados. During lunch I’d eat my sardines out of a can, put mustard on them and then I’d eat a half of an avocado with a spoon. Eww, right? No, actually I find it very good to eat, but that's not my point. If I were to eat this lunch with any other kids in school they’d think, “Gross, get away from me!”. This wasn’t true for the kids who I sat with. They found nothing wrong with it. At the table where I ate lunch, it was a judgement free zone, and I love’d it. These kids taught me that real friends don’t judge, but rather accept.
During these lows, I’d motivate myself by reminding myself that the best soccer players and students push forward, even when they don’t feel like it.
- As a scholar athlete, how do you stay motivated to keep working hard on rough days?
It’s not easy being an active athlete and getting all A’s in school. Sometimes, I was so busy with soccer, I didn’t want to do my homework when I got home. I just wanted to relax. Some days after school, I’d be so tired. I felt like I could hardly run at practice. During these lows, I’d motivate myself by reminding myself that the best soccer players and students push forward, even when they don’t feel like it. I tried to stay always positive with myself. It was hard though, when you're tired and don’t feel like practicing. Sometimes, negative thoughts inundated my head like, “When will soccer practice be over? I just want to go home”. When thoughts like these entered my head, I knew I had to change my attitude. I would accept the fact that I was tired, (every athlete has those days) and tell myself, “Megan, just give it your best, don’t waste an opportunity to improve.”
- What is your biggest piece of advice you have for girls that may want to pursue sports but are nervous about going for it because of their physical disability?
My biggest piece of advice for girls who want to pursue a sport but are nervous because of a physical disability is, don’t let fear consume you. Try new things! It’s healthy to push yourself out of your comfort zone. At first, it might be scary, but trust me you will begin to adapt and people will learn to respect you and your decision to play a sport.