Keep Her In The Game: 'Why I Play'

With its unparalleled success in women's sports, the Pac-12 Conference is proud to participate in the Women's Sports Foundation's "Keep Her In The Game" initiative, bringing awareness to help young girls remain involved in sports and raise funds to support girls' programming. Below are some quotes from notable Pac-12 alums about why they play.

"I play sports because I love to compete.  I love the atmosphere and the competitiveness that comes along with playing basketball. All the years of hard work, the conditioning, lifting weights and watching film was worth putting in those countless amounts of hours to be able to play the sport I love at the highest level. My emotion when running out of the tunnel onto the court is amazing. My adrenaline kicks in full effect and it is time to play, nothing can stop me, I live for this. Playing sports is all about having fun and pushing yourself with people who want the exact same thing you do -- to win. My teammates and coaches are people I will cherish forever. I play sports because I love the game." - Mackenzie Argens, former University of Washington basketball player and McDonald's All-American nominee

"I play sports because softball has given me so many wonderful opportunities. By playing sports, I have received an education from the No. 1 public institution in California, I have traveled to many states and other countries, and have made life-long friendships. Sports have shaped who I am today. Dedication, hard work, competition, accountability, patience, compassion, friendship, heart, diversity, adversity and many more characteristics, I have learned and experienced through sports! I hope other little girls get this opportunity to grow up in a positive atmosphere, learn life values, make life-long friendships and just to have fun!" - Valerie Arioto, former University of California softball player, member of the U.S. National team and 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year

"I play softball because its the gift God has given me and something that I enjoy doing." - Katelyn Boyd, former Arizona State softball player

"I play sports because I love working with my teammates toward a common goal." - Stephanie Byrne, former Stanford field hockey player and first team NFHCA All-West Region

"I play sports because I love being part of a team. It allows me to fill my physical potential and I like to stay fit." - Annie Chandler, former University of Arizona swimmer and 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist

"I play sports because competition runs through my veins." - Jess Drummond, former University of Oregon lacrosse player and second team All-MPSF

"I play sports because I feel strong and in my element playing a game that I love." - Meagan Ganzer, former Washington State volleyball player and All-Pac-12 "I play sports because it gives me endless opportunities to pursue my dreams." - Katinka Hosszu, former USC swimmer and NCAA individual national champion

"I play sports because it's the way I chose to live my life. Not only did I benefit by staying fit and healthy, but I've grown into a disciplined and hard-working individual. Sports have helped me become a leader as well as a team player. It has showed me that all dreams are possible to achieve, as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. Even though this way of life is tough and challenging, the lessons I've learned and the experiences I've had through my sport are priceless. I couldn't imagine a more thrilling, fulfilling and gratifying life than the one of an athlete." - Sara Isakovic, former swimmer on the two-time national champion University of California team and an All-American

"I play sports because it feels good to go all out." - Liv Jensen, former swimmer on the two-time national champion University of California team

"I play sports because I get to compete against the toughest opponent every day, myself." - Jana Juricova, former University of California tennis player and 2012 Pac-12 Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year

"I play sports because…it gives me a chance to do something I love while staying active. I also have a lot of energy and absolutely love to compete, so soccer is my outlet." - Sydney Leroux, former UCLA soccer player and member of the U.S. National Team

"I play sports because it has taught me so many life lessons - such as how to be a good teammate and leader, - and has shown me what commitment and success is all about." - Leslie Mak, former Oregon State gymnast and 2012 Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year

"I play sports because I feel free when I play. I feel in control to express who I am, what I love and I am able to show my competitive spirit." - Giulia Molinaro, former Arizona State golfer and 2012 Pac-12 Golfer of the Year

"I play sports because God has given me a gift and through this gift, I have met some of the most wonderful people in the world." - Jessica Tebo, University of Colorado track & field athlete and 2012 Pac-12 5,000-meter champion

"I play sports because I love the competition and challenge it provides." - Brianne Theisen, former University of Oregon decathlete and seven-time NCAA individual champion

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