HUMANS OF AISTS
MAS2021 | Ep19 | CHRISTY DUKEHART
I think my passion for sport can be traced back to when I was a newborn. The story, one of my mother’s favourites, is when she came home from work one night and walked into a tiny apartment filled with grown men, loudly cheering on team USA during the Olympics. I was in the centre on my father’s lap, happy as can be. The love for sport was born.
My passion for sport lead to me playing and watching many sports, but I ultimately found my love as a softball pitcher. I loved the strategy, mental toughness and dedication the position demanded, as well as the pressure of my team relying on me. I thrived on it – the more pressure and the greater expectations were, the better I performed. My career ultimately lead me to being an NCAA athlete at Belmont University, competing in college at the highest level; however, it was abruptly ended when I suffered a career ending injury, ending with it my dreams of being an Olympian. After that, I struggled being around a sport that had been a part of my life since I was very young. I felt as though I had lost my identity.
I found my way into grad school, getting my MBA and MSA at Northeastern University in Boston, and then started my career working for consulting firm Ernst & Young. At the same time, I was developing a love for travel and culture, and trying to enjoy sport purely as a fan. I traveled a lot, learning and watching new sports along the way. With time, I found my way back into sport as a coach. I left my career path, opened my own sport academy and became an NCAA coach. I found happiness again in sport, this time through my coaching. I love that I am able to be someone for girls to look up to, as a female business owner, a former female athlete, and as a female coach. It is very empowering to many of the girls I work with, and while having that role model responsibility for many would be overwhelming, I find that I embrace it. It positively impacts every decision I make on a day to day basis.
The global pandemic lead me to AISTS. The experience of living in Switzerland, the new friends I have made in my classmates, and the clients I have had the opportunity to work with have given me a new sense of purpose within sport. It has been a challenging year given the pandemic; however my classmates were resilient and we persevered, carving out our own path to enjoy the experience. The entire experience flew by in the blink of eye, and while feelings of nostalgia have inevitably crept in, I’m also very optimistic, hopeful and excited for our future careers in sport.
Going forward, I hope to contribute many things to sport. I hope to be a voice for safeguarding, education, and gender equality. I hope to lead in sport strategy, development and sustainability. But mostly, I hope to inspire other young girls to dream big. Winston Churchill famously said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Integrity, loyalty, work ethic and not being afraid to dream…this is what I hope to give to the future of sport.
*Credits for the Humans of AISTS go to MAS 2021 Aditya Narayan and Gabor Zippenfenig for coordination!