Women's Lacrosse |
June 4, 2012
By Katie Baran
This year, 532 Bearcats had the opportunity to don the ‘C’ and represent that University of Cincinnati as a student-athlete. Of those 532 student-athletes, 28 played lacrosse – nine of which will graduate this weekend and enter the real world. Some will pursue careers outside of sports, but Cathy Hebert is not one of them.
Hebert, who hails from Baltimore – the so-called “Mecca” of lacrosse – will take her knowledge from the lacrosse field across the Atlantic, where she will serve as a mentor and coach to hundreds of high school students at Rendcomb College. Unbeknownst to many Americans, the co-ed institution located two hours northwest of downtown London is the current National Small School’s Lacrosse Champions, and has students represented in Scotland and Wales at Under-19 (U-19) level, and Gloucestershire at U-19 and U-15 levels.
“I just had a high school friend that had done it and I knew that after college I wanted to get into some sort of coaching, but I also wanted to travel,” Hebert said. “Being a student-athlete has given me a lot of opportunities, but I haven’t really been able to travel abroad a whole lot. I knew I wanted to leave the country and get out for a little bit and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to marry the two.”
Hebert got her first taste of English life when she spent a portion of last summer with Sherry Sports Tours International’s London Lax Challenge, where she participated in team camps with U-19 teams and went sightseeing around the royal city.
“The whole reason I went into the program last summer was to see the city and get a basic understanding for how to travel over there,” Hebert said. “Being from the east coast, I travel, but I don’t really use public transportation the way they do. I’m not really too savvy in that area, so I wanted to get a basic understanding of it and make sure I liked the city itself and the culture there.”
This time around, Hebert will take on more tasks and increase her responsibility – delving into teaching and coaching.
“I’ll be living at the school with three other girls,” Hebert said. “One is from America; she’s in the same program as me and she’s from Gettysburg. There are two others who are in their ‘gap year.’ We’re all going to do the same thing – general coaching, substitute teaching, and maybe teach gym class. The other American girl and I will be coaching a club team at two of the local universities. In the Fall I have to coach field hockey, which I haven’t really played too much.”
Coming from Baltimore, Hebert is accustomed to a high-caliber level of lacrosse. However, the sport is still relatively young and non-established in European countries, which will be an adjustment for the four-year defenseman.
“It’s different,” Hebert said. “When I went over last summer, we played with the national team and they were good and I was impressed with their talent. With the younger levels, especially at the boarding schools, the kids just have to play a sport, so there are a lot of girls who have never played before and a lot of girls who have played since they were kids. They have to get everyone in, so it’s a mixture of talent. You have to be able to coach both.”
The decision to move overseas was not an easy one. As a journalism and communications major, Hebert had an opportunity to move back home and work for a public relations firm, but opted to stay in the lacrosse world at least one more year.
“I kind of struggled with it because I’ve played lacrosse since I was eight and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be stuck in the lacrosse world,” Hebert said. “But at the end of the day, I still really enjoy the sport, whether I’m playing it or watching it.”
After signing on for a year with the program – which includes a basic salary, health insurance, a car and cell phone – Hebert has made no decision on her future plans. Whether she chooses to stay on for another year, commit to another job in Europe, or pursues a communications career back home, she is taking everything one day at a time.
“I’m just going into it with an open mind and not making a decision one way or the other,” Hebert said. “Obviously I love my hometown and I would like to go back to the east coast and work in public relations at some point, but if I really love it (in London) then I’m not going to rush back. The real world will always be there, so why not take some time to do something really cool and really enjoy myself?”