For this week’s #TBT and alumni spotlight, we are checking in with Mary Kenz from the UCLA Water Ski Team!
Favorite Event: Jump
Describe your ski team experience: As a transfer student at UCLA, I joined the water ski team because I was looking for way to get more involved. What I got out of the collegiate water ski experience was so much more. I grew up free skiing over summers with my family, but three-event skiing was a whole new ball game… or water game? I immediately fell in love with this new world that I became part of. Joining the ski team was like joining a new family. It was refreshing to find a group of people who loved what I loved. The overwhelming sense of welcome that I felt made me feel eager and comfortable to try new things. It’s a lot easier to go off of the jump ramp for the first time ever during a tournament, having no idea what you’re doing, when you know that after you end up accidentally back flipping off of the ramp you have a support group whose there to cheer you on, mildly tease you about it, and then help teach you how to do it better next time.
Favorite Memory: Choosing a favorite memory is nearly impossible for me to do, considering each weekend at the lake and each collegiate tournament were filled with friendship and fun times. I can tell you that my favorite part about collegiate skiing as a whole is the supportive environment. Collegiate water skiing has a unique sense of camaraderie in the world of sports, and in general, because everyone is there to root for each other and help each other be the best skiers they can be. No matter your team or what level of a skier you are, everyone wants to see you do your best.
Any advice for current skiers? My advice for current skiers is to get out to the lake as much as you can, and never forget to enjoy the moment.
How can we get more college kids involved in the sport? Continuing to expand social media platforms for collegiate water skiing can help make a big difference in reaching college students. I think there is great benefit in the way social media can portray what joining a collegiate team is like.
Thanks for sharing your experiences Mary! If you would like to be featured in our Alumni Spotlight, please comment on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from you!