For many student-athletes, balancing the right amount of time between education and sports can be difficult.
But Christine Nairn, who is blending education and soccer, is the leading scorer of the Penn State women’s soccer team and is now a contributor for ESPNW’s College Sports Blog.
“It’s interesting because I get to use what I have learned at Penn State to put into practice,” Nairn said. “If I want to go into a career in journalism or whatever, this would prepare me for that. It’s kind of cool, kind of combining the soccer aspect of my life and the academic part.”
The blog, which has posts by other female students-athletes around the country, gives insight into the daily lives of athletes and their teams.
“They just told me to talk about my everyday stuff that’s funny, that goes on with the team and pretty much just go with it,” Nairn said. “Do whatever I want to do. It’s been fun. I’ve done two already. It’s been a lot of fun. I get a lot of ideas from the girls.”
In her most recent post, Nairn, a communication major, created a list of superlatives with the help of her teammates.
The superlatives ranged from senior defender Lexi Marton being named “most like to be on reality TV” to junior forward Maya Hayes being named “most likely to beat Usain Bolt.”
“I was actually asleep when this all went on,” Hayes said. “We were on the bus, and they decided to come up with superlatives. But I mean like I said it’s a part of our team. We are a fun bunch of girls and it obviously showed in the superlatives alone.”
Nairn added that she looks to her teammates for ideas and most of the input comes from them. She then tries to make the post humorous, which brings all members of the team together.
The weekly blog posts focus on moments behind the scenes and that help the team bond. A teaser on the most recent blog post indicates the next will feature a showing of the practice facilities the Lady Lions use.
“I think ESPN definitely picked the right one, the right person to represent this program,” coach Erica Walsh said. “[Nairn] is funny. She tells it like it is. I think from a reporting standpoint, she is going to represent our program exactly the way we feel it’s being run.”
Nairn is ranked No. 5 in the country in points per game (2.3) and No. 8 in goals scored with nine this season.
She also leads the team with five assists, three game winning goals and 19 shots on goal.
“The leading scorer stuff is fantastic and I have been really proud of her goal output this year, but more importantly, she is absolutely making this team better every day,” Walsh said. “That is the highest compliment I can pay a leader on the team. Literally, the highest compliment. If she continues on this pace, to me, she is the best player in the country right now, hands down.”
Walsh added that the experience her players are getting from media attention and through things like helping to make the blog will help them further their education.
Nairn hopes that the blog will continue to bring the team together and be something for the players to look back on.
“I try to get everybody involved, and everybody on the same page,” Nairn said. “Funny stuff that has happened, it’s fun to look back after the season is over to say that was fun. I hope someone continues to do it after I’m done here. Like I said, it’s fun to look back on stuff.”