Alivia Schill, a second-year social development studies student, began university in fall 2020. Although her first season as a rugby recruit was cancelled due to the pandemic, she was still able to meet with the team to train on a few occasions.
Schill played rugby from Grades 9 to 12 and was familiar with the University of Waterloo’s rugby coach because he coached some of the teams at her high school in Waterloo, Ont. Schill became a part of the varsity women’s rugby team through recruitment.
Schill started playing soccer at the age of four. When she got to high school, she was faced with a decision of whether she wanted to continue playing soccer or try out rugby, since both are spring season sports. “I had a teacher who kind of nudged me in that direction and said, ‘Oh, you should try rugby’.”
Playing rugby pushed Schill to step outside her comfort zone and lead her to a supportive environment. “I wonder what my life would have been like had I just stuck with soccer, because I found it was a totally different environment, and one that I didn’t necessarily fit into as much,” Schill said. “I found that my team in high school was so supportive. We were like a family. I feel the same about the UW rugby team.”
Schill said participating in rugby has helped her with her self-image and body image, adding that she felt certain sports had a typical athlete’s physique. In contrast, when she started playing rugby in Grade 9, she realized that, “if you had the mindset of an athlete, then you were an athlete and there was a place for you on the rugby team no matter what your body type was.” Schill acknowledged “that’s not to say [body image issues] don’t happen in rugby, but I just found that my team in high school was so supportive.”
Although Schill is not entirely sure about her career goals, she is interested in being a high school teacher and also coaching rugby in the future. “My teachers and my coaches actually have all had a huge impact on my life. I would just love to have that same impact on the next generation of kids,” Schill said. She explained that rugby is “generally a very accepting sport and a very supportive environment.”
“Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and take care of yourself. It’s okay to take a break — take care of yourself,” Schill said, addressing her fellow students.
Outside of school and rugby, Schill enjoys reading, writing, taking care of her plants and spending time with her dog.