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Her name is Symmes Jenn Symmes and she's the captain and rightback of the Western women's field hockey team. She's been chosen to lead a team which has high expectations of improving on last year's third place finish and making it to the Ontario University Athletic championships.
Symmes, a fourth-year kineseology student at Western, was born in Georgetown, Ontario and has played four years on Western's team. She has also played for the Halton Hornets and more recently, she played for the Goan Overseas Association team this summer. At Western she has won the coaches award, an award for the Most Enthusiastic and Dedicated as well as the prestigious Western Bronze W.
Western coach Keith Concisom was quick to point out why Symmes should be the team's leader. "She adds leadership, playing experience with really good drive and determination. It's contagious, her love of the game," he said.
The easy talking Symmes approaches her new position, not as a dictator but as a mentor instead. Above all else Symmes believes her presence is best felt on the field and not in the locker room through intimidating words to her fellow teammates.
"I'm not a hard-nosed captain. I'm not about discipline. I feel desire and focus is within [the team]. I hope I can lead by example and try to maintain the focus on the team," she said.
Her approach to leading the field hockey team, which contains a wealth of veterans mixed with rookies has not gone unnoticed by her teammates. Symmes has earned respect from the team both on and off the field for the work she has put into the her game.
"She has a presence on the field you know she's out there [practicing], with her talking and playing," said Jenn Kicis, midfielder and fourth-year kineosology student at Western.
Concisom added Symmes has changed over the years. "Her improvement is more off the field than on the field, her mental attitude on the field has become more focused," he said.
Above all else beyond all the accolades and achievement, in talking with Symmes one thing becomes quickly obvious. She loves the game of field hockey and isn't shy about admitting her passion.
"I've always been attracted to small sports. Field hockey has a lot of etiquette and a lot of tradition on the field. It's based on skill instead of attitude," she said.
Symmes, through her dedication, is a big supporter of field hockey a sport she feels has gone unnoticed in North America. When asked what she would do to improve the exposure of the game, it did not take Symmes long to put a response together.
"Field hockey is such a quiet sport, you have to introduce it to young people. If you develop it and establish it with young children, then the program will develop much faster."
Despite this, on the field and off the field, she still sees one thing as her biggest goal in playing this sport. And it isn't scoring the most goals or being the most valuable player. "One of my biggest goals is to really earn the respect of the other teams, coaches, players, referees and try to establish the sport."
When asked to describe field hockey as a metaphor for life, Symmes responded with a favourite scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
"The kilts are short enough to make it interesting and long enough to be legal."