Monday, November 2, 2009
5 Questions With Another Football Star
Social media rocks! I meet so many awesome athletes this way and today's guest is a great example of that. Wendi Kali is a dedicated football player that recently realized her dream of raising enough funds to attend the 2010 Women's Football Camp in Las Vegas in January. She is chronicling her training ups, downs, and lessons learned in her blog My WFA Days. You'll see her on the field with the Portland Fighting Fillies for the upcoming season. She's pretty amazing and I know you'll see what an inspiration she is after reading this - I'll let her introduce herself:
I was born in San Diego, CA and grew up in Escondido, CA. I spent a couple of years in the Marine Corps and had my son at a pretty early age. I spent 15 years, off and on, getting my degree in business finance while working full-time and supporting my son and me. Today my son is 19 and attends the Art Institute of Portland and is majoring in Media Arts & Animation. I graduated with a BS in Business from Portland State University in August 2007 and have worked for a chain of pubs & breweries in the Pacific Northwest as a Senior Accountant from October 2007 until now. This December I turn the big 40!
1. How did you get started in women's football? How long have you played? How long do you hope to play?
I first heard about the Portland Shockwave back in 2006 or 2007 and attended a few games in 2008 but, at the time, my schedule wouldn't allow for time to play and practice. At the end of 2008 a lot of things had changed in my life and I fell into a pretty deep depression. A friend of mine got me to finally go to a therapist to turn things around and while in therapy I decided to play for the Shockwave. Football, quite literally, saved my life. I had found my outlet and felt incredibly empowered by it. Last year was my rookie year and I hope to play for as long as my body will let me. It's such an incredible adrenaline rush and a great way to get out all of your frustrations.
2. How do you train for your position and what position(s) do you play? What is your ideal position to play and is there another position that you would prefer to play?
I play Offensive Tackle and Defensive End. I love to play defense and love being on the line because it's that much closer to the action and the quarterback. I haven't been able to get a number in the 'sack' column on the stats yet but I'm working on it. We've started our practices this past month and have been working mostly on form and technique but I've been working out at the gym two to three times a week plus I've been attending Bikram yoga classes this past week. I do some sort of work out every day and focus a lot on the muscle groups I need to perform on the line. I also work on my mind set and determination while working out. Focus, strength and determination are important in this game.
3. What are the biggest challenges playing football for you? The greatest rewards?
The biggest challenges playing football have been the physicality of it and the time commitment. I watch the NFL players and wish I was able to commit my day time hours to working out and getting better for myself and my team like they do. I hope that someday, women have the same opportunity as men do as professional football players. The greatest reward in this sport is accomplishment. We start together as a team and we learn and grow and win as a team. On a personal level the greatest reward for me is the opportunity itself. As a woman who grew up wanting to play baseball and football but didn't have the opportunity to do so because of my gender, I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity.
4. Who are some of your role models? What types of people make the best role models in your mind? To that effect, do you consider yourself to be a role model? Why or why not?
My Grandfather for his joyful outlook on life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his compassion, and Junior Seau and LaDanian Tomlinson for being excellent individuals both on and off the field. Any athlete that walks his/her talk, is passionate about their sport, looks to the positive side of life and is compassionate towards others are also great role models to me. People who rise above their life struggles and constantly strive to be better while helping those around them are excellent role models. To that effect, yes, I do consider myself to be a role model. I strive to always be that teammate everyone wants on their team. One they can trust, who supports them and encourages them and can also just listen when needed.
5. If you were asked to give a talk to young people (pre-teen) about playing football what are some of the things you would say to them?
Believe in yourself, always strive to be your best, keep a positive attitude and remember that you will never know all there is to know about football or the position you're playing. Just like in life, there's always more to learn.
I'll be sure to catch up with Wendi again in the near future to check her progress. You can find her on Twitter and follow her blog.
GOOD LUCK WENDI!!