Macie Parenteau, an athlete from Saskatoon who was recently named valedictorian at the Indigenous Graduation Gala, is approaching her final moments in Saskatchewan before reaching for her dreams. She is set to attend Dawson Community College in Montana for a softball scholarship and to obtain an Associates of Science degree, with an overall goal to study neurology in the future. Before she leaves, the multi-sport athlete will be attending the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) from July 15 – 23 where she will compete in basketball and softball.
Ahead of her next exploits, Sask Sport was able to speak with Parenteau and asked her to share how she felt about attending NAIG and the impact sport has had on her life. Here is what she had to say.
How has sport impacted your life?
Sport has been my saving grace. I have struggled a lot with my mental health so when you feel weak on the inside it is so amazing to have this thing that you can pour your physical strength into and become this physically strong person. Sport helps mentally with the weakness that you feel. It’s an outlet I am grateful to have.
Growing up I danced and when I quit and got introduced to the world of softball and volleyball, I fell in love with the discipline of sport and being able to push myself.
When did you first get involved with sport and what opportunities have been offered to you through sport?
I started dancing around three years old, started playing softball around 13 and got into basketball my Grade 9 year.
Overall, I try to better myself and be the best I can be. Softball is one of those sports where you can work individually on skills and work hard for personal development. And on the other hand, you can also experience a team atmosphere.
When I first got into softball, I didn’t think anything of it until I got introduced to the world of travel-ball. There are so many opportunities for scholarships and having my school paid for by doing a sport I love is so amazing.
What will it mean to you to be a part of Team Sask at NAIG?
Honestly, it will mean so much to me. Recently I have delved deeper into my Indigenous background and come to know all these amazing people and had all these amazing opportunities. Being able to play at North American Indigenous Games with fellow athletes that have stories that are similar to mine is so beautiful. And to be able to play a sport I love makes it even better and I am really excited.
What or who is your biggest encouragement throughout your sporting career?
I have had so many amazing coaches and female role models that I have been able to look up to and base my sport experience off of. The biggest motivator I have is my mom. She is my rock. Anytime I have bad game, even if she doesn’t understand the sport, she is always there cheering me on and encouraging me to continue.
I would encourage other young individuals to get involved in sport. It is such an amazing thing to be a part of and it brings so many opportunities. I have met some of my closest friends through softball and basketball and it is so amazing to be a part of a community where everyone has like interests.
Why is it important to you as an athlete that a team allows you to be your authentic self?
I think it is so important to be able to be your authentic self in sport. Being able to feel that camaraderie and have other people be there to build your confidence is also important, especially when you are playing sport where it can be so individual. It is amazing to have that positive environment of people who are lifting you up after every play or even after a strike-out. It is important to have people that build your confidence and are able to build you up.
My whole life within sport, I have been seen as “the little brown girl,” that plays short stop. Sport can bring so many people together from everywhere. It is an inclusive environment that is amazing to have.