Senator Kirsten Gillibrand jumped on court with National Urban Squash + Education Association (NUSEA) players this week in Washington, D.C., as the inaugural NUSEA Citizenship Tour wound down.
The New York native learned squash during her time as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College and was captain her senior year. After some competitive squash, Gillibrand recounted the lessons she learned on court.
“By the time I was a senior, I was captain. I usually played number four or five, and one match I had to play number two against Yale, and I was so outmatched, ” Gillibrand said.
“She was a hundred times better in every way. After the first game I came off court and I saw my coach and started to cry and said, ‘I can’t beat her she’s so good.’ She told me, ‘Well, can you stay in the game and play every point the best you can?’ I said ‘yeah.’ ‘And can you promise me that you’re going to try your hardest?’ I said’ ‘Yeah.’ So I got back on court and of course I got crushed.
“But I really learned that you don’t have to be afraid of losing. That, in fact, with all sports and with life, when you lose, you learn how to play better next time. You learn a lot about your opponent and how a better player plays, and it just makes you stronger. I thought that was a good lesson for competitiveness, and why I think sports are great for politics.”