By Steve Petrick
Malia Herold slowly limps off the field at Varsity Stadium. Each time she lands on her left foot, her face tightens due to the pain.
Her coach Jon Sanderson takes her off because nothing matters at this point. It is injury time and the University of Toronto has just scored another goal to make 3-0 in their favour.
“She’s not shy of playing hurt,” the soccer coach says of his sweeper and team captain. “She’s often upset when I take her off for being hurt.”
After the game, she comes limping out of the change room, her body on about a 70-degree tilt because she is weighed down by the large gym-bag she carries on her shoulders.
It contains all the team’s balls. She laughs at herself knowing how awkward her strut looks.
“It’s all part of being an athlete; playing through pain,” she jokes.
But her athletic resumé is really nothing to laugh at. Herold serves with two Ryerson Interuniversity teams. Her injuries never have time to heal, because when the soccer team has an off day, she uses it to prepare for a squash tournament.
The soccer player of eleven years had played tennis and badminton, but never dreamed of becoming a squash player. In fact, she had never picked up a squash racquet until she came to Ryerson two years ago.
A friend convinced her to give it a try in fall of ’97. She’s glad she did it.
“I started playing it and absolutely loving it,” she says. “I fell in love with the sport.”
When Herold and a friend went to the RAC to simply bang a ball against the wall, it took just a few minutes for her athletic ability to catch the eye of then-squash coach Don Lee.
He knocked on the door, and told Herold he was searching for women for the team.
The first time she played competitively she was on a varsity team.
Due to her lack of experience, she says her accomplishments in squash have “yet to occur” and she has had more success in soccer.
“I haven’t had that many wins, but this year I’m ready. Because I only started playing two years ago my confidence level has just started to get up there. This is the big year,” she says with a grin.
Coach Sanderson knows if the Rams steal a game this year, Herold will be one of the reasons.
“I can’t say enough good things about Malia,” he says shrugging his shoulders. “She’s very good for comradarie in the dressing room. She works very hard in what she does and she takes a lot of pride in playing two sports and at the same time excelling in academics.”
Herold, from Guelph, is in her third year of new media. She says playing the two sports takes up 15 hours a week, not enough to make her fall behind in school.
She has to yield to one of the sports at times though. Herold misses one of two squash practice a week for soccer, during fall and will miss the first tournament due to a game.
Although the two sports are as different as the fields they’re playing on, Herold says the movements are the same.
“For both sports you always have to be on your toes. For squash it’s a lot of moving from side to side, it’s the same in soccer when you’re covering someone. You have to be able to move quickly,” Herold says.
But her soccer teammate and friend Isabel Campbell knows another reason why Herold has the ability to take on the new sport.
“She is the most determined and motivated person I know,” says Campbell. “She’s not harder on anybody else than she is on herself. If she does something she does it all out. Not just half-way.”