Shaped by Our Game: Ashley Stephenson
Shaped by Our Game, is an initiative on baseball.ca that profiles people who have used our sport to achieve success later in life. Baseball is a sport that provides great life lessons and teaches skills that are applicable for future success in life whether on the baseball field or not.
Ashley Stephenson is the longest serving member on our Women’s National Team having playing in the first ever WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup back in 2004 in Edmonton. In September, Ashley competed in her seventh Women’s Baseball World Cup and helped Canada match their best-ever result with a silver medal win.
Off the baseball field Ashley is a Physical Education Teacher at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School in Burlington, Ontario where she coaches Field Hockey, Boys Hockey and Boys Baseball.
Ashley Stephenson file:
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Education: Wilfrid Laurier University Honours Kinesiology where she was also a member of the Golden Hawks Varsity Hockey Team and won 1 National Championship, 2 National Silver medals and 4 Ontario University Athletic Championships.
Occupation: Phys Ed Teacher Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
Local Minor Baseball Association: Clarkson, Mississauga North, Toronto Baseball Association
Highlights: Women’s National Team since 2004 including five Women’s Baseball World Cup medals (2 silver, 3 bronze)
Minor Baseball Coach that taught you a valuable lesson, what it is and how you use it today:
I had a coach named Derek Williams when I first began playing baseball. I had just switched from softball and I was a catcher but the rep team I made already had a talented catcher, so he asked me to play shortstop. I had only played there when I was in T-ball and I really liked catching but he convinced me that this would be best. Derek always had a way of pushing us to try new things and challenging us to work hard! One of his favourite lines was "Everyday practice two things you need to work on and one thing you are already good at and enjoy". I still use that line to this day.
Three life skills that baseball taught you and how you use today in your career:
Teamwork - My parents were always fans of team sports. They thought it taught me so many things like how to work with others, how to rely on teammates, how to be a leader, but also follow when you needed to, develop a common goal and share a passion with like minded people - the list goes on. Some of my best friends are teammates of mine. I'm so thankful my parents gave me the opportunity to play team sports because in everyday life you work with people and need to find a way to be a positive contributing member of the team!
Dedication/Commitment - It was a rule in my house that if you made a commitment to something, you followed through with it. Every year I signed up to play baseball and made the team. That was a commitment I made and thus, it was a priority to get to. I always loved going to practices and games but sometimes as a child you have to make sacrifices and miss things like birthday parties or summer cottages because you have baseball. You have to dedicate yourself to being the best teammate you can be and that means committing to all team functions and doing what you can to help the team be successful. I am still dedicated to sports! I coach a number of different things at my school and put forth my best effort whether it's on the bench coaching or on the field playing.
Work Ethic - Baseball is a humbling sport. If you are successful 3 out of 10 at bats you are a Hall Of Famer, but if you scored that on a test, it would be a failing grade! Good work ethic has never hurt anyone in any situation! Good things come to people who work hard. My mom was a fantastic role model for my brother and I. I've never met someone who worked harder and never complained. It was an expectation in our house that you gave 110% at everything you did, school, work, sports - it didn't matter. I always take that work ethic with me on the field in practice and in games. Just as important, I did it in school and I still work incredibly hard for my students.
Best day in baseball:
I'll never forget the first time I put on the Canadian jersey and heard the national anthem before playing in my first game! That was an unbelievable experience. In terms of my best day in baseball, winning a silver medal at the Pan Am Games was a day I'll never forget. Women's baseball has fought to be included in a multi-sport games and having those Games in Canada for the first time was such a huge step forward for our sport. To be able to win a medal was a bonus!