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Fostering a Purpose-Based Athletic Identity

By, Christine-Evette Ngeve, MSW, Owner of Peak Potential Journey

Being raised by a single mom I observed early what hard work, dedication, and strength eluded. Being an only child, sports were a central part of my life that allowed me to engage in friendships and socialization with other peers that I didn’t get all the time as an only child. I tried multiple sports and extracurriculars growing up including dance, basketball, jump roping, softball, volleyball, clogging, cooking classes, etc. As I got older, I had to choose which sports or activities I was going to continue. Volleyball and softball shaped my identity in profound ways. 

Fast forward to my college years where I attended Shaw University representing my school in not one, but three sports. Yes, you read that correctly, while receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I also was playing volleyball, softball, AND track and field. But it wasn’t just about the games for me; it was about using my platform to make a difference, both on and off the field. 

As a former athlete and Top 30 NCAA Woman of the Year Honoree in 2019, I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of sports. One of my favorite quotes that I live by in helping students and student-athletes is from Dr. Dudley Flood who states “Children are not what you think they are..they’re not what they think they are..but they tend to become what they think you think they are.” 

Why does this quote matter? Because sports have the potential to be so much more than games. They can be a catalyst for positive change, empowering young athletes to become leaders, advocates, and role models in their communities. All of those characteristics are in addition to being a student-athlete. One unique thing about all of us is that our fingerprints can’t be duplicated. The idea I want you to continue to consider as your child goes through their journey in athletics—they are more than their sport and being an athlete is not their only identity. 

I challenge families to allow our student-athletes to have a purpose-based athletic identity. Helping your student understand their purpose which could include their culture, their character strengths, their relationships, and other gifts they have to offer in the world will cultivate their internal motivation for their whole self and not just their athlete self. The more constrained the story is, the more the person’s self-worth depends on their identity as an athlete (Search Institute, 2021). 

My passion relies on academic achievement and a whole person-driven focus for student-athletes. I invite you to attend my upcoming events at Arboro, including student-athlete study halls and Athletic Identity/Life After Sport Coaching. 

Join Christine-Evette at Arboro for her upcoming community event- Game Plan for Academic Progression.

Post written by:

Christine-Evette Ngeve, MSW


Peak Potential Journey 

Instagram: @peakpotentialjourney_


Parents, how do you think our community can better support and empower student-athletes to become leaders and change agents, both on and off the field?

Join the conversation! Write your response in the comments below.

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