Colleen Smith is a senior on women’s lacrosse. The Illinois native started and played in 16 games last season, and her 21 ground balls ranked second on the squad. Her team’s first game falls on February 22 at Loyola. She recently sat down with The Daily Princetonian to discuss Lake Michigan, the Olympics and dolphins.
Q: Where are you from and what’s the best part about it?
A: I’m from Wilmette, Illinois, which is right outside of Chicago. The best part about it, compared to here, is getting to be a token Midwest person. There’s a couple of us on the team. We always talk about how people from the Midwest are so nice and people from the East Coast are … not so nice. We love being the nice people on the team.
Q: Are you a Cubs or a White Sox fan?
A: Cubs fan. But Dad’s a big White Sox fan. But I’ll root for the Sox. I’m not such a big baseball fan. But I’m a huge Blackhawks fan. They just won the Stanley Cup.
Q: Which of the Great Lakes is in your opinion the greatest?
A: Well, I am five blocks away from Lake Michigan. I love Lake Michigan. It’s basically a freshwater ocean. Whenever people ask me about Lake Michigan, they ask ‘Can you see across it?’ But it’s nothing like that. I have to tell them it’s basically an ocean. When people come to visit they’re always amazed by how beautiful it is.
Q: What are you studying at Princeton?
A: I’m a psychology major.
Q: How does that make you feel?
A: I see what you did there. I love psychology. It’s great. I’ve loved all my classes. People always ask me if I’m psychoanalyzing them. And the answer is yes. I like to be able to have that skill.
Q: What’s the best class you’ve taken at Princeton so far?
A: American Cinema. It was a really good lecture. And what’s bad about watching movies for homework?
Q: What position do you play? And why do you like or dislike it?
A: I play defense. And I love it because we have formed our own little group on the team. We call ourselves “The Dark Side” because we wear the black side of our pinnie. And we just are really, really goofy. Everyone on the defense is just hysterical. There’s really nothing I don’t like on the defense. Every single person, I love seeing every day, and we have such a tight-knit community. So I wouldn’t change anything.
Q: When did you start playing lacrosse?
A: I actually started playing in 7th and 8th grade. But it was more just my friends and I goofing off. I seriously started playing freshman year of high school.
Q: What’s your proudest moment you’ve had in your career?
A: Last year we played Penn State. I think they were ranked sixth, or at least top 10. On paper they were supposed to beat us. It was just an amazing game. It was our alumni game, one of our fundraisers and our senior day. So it was cool to show Penn State what Princeton lacrosse is all about. The only way to describe it was electric. We were just on fire. I was so proud to be part of the team at that point.
Q: Do you have any pre-match rituals?
A: As a team, we always have a dance party. I mean, who doesn’t? At the end of our dance party, two people will sing a Celine Dion song. But we might have to change it for next year, because a girl who was part of the duo left. So we’ll have to find a new epic song for this season.
Q: Who’s the quirkiest member of your team?
A: It’s such a toss-up, because there are so many. I’d say that there are two. Upperclassmen, is junior Erin Curley. She’s the sweetest person ever. She’ll do anything for anyone, but she also has the funniest sense of humor too. For underclassmen, we have a freshman girl Ellie DeGarmo. I’m lucky enough to live one entryway over from her. She’s just a hoot. Everything she does makes us laugh.
Q: Could you talk about the importance of having Jamie Smith ’15 on your team?
A: (laughs) Ah the Ja-manager. Jamie is an essential part of our team. Without her, our head coach would not have her diet coke. And she would lose her keys every practice without Jamie. In fact, we made a video about her last her (Editor’s note: called “Day in the life of Ja-Manager”). It showed her essential roles on the team, and I don’t think we would really function without her.
Q: Under YouTube account “Colleen Smith” there was a Princeton women’s lacrosse Harlem Shake video. Was this one of the better Harlem Shakes, or do you have any regrets?
A: I thought we were great. We made a bunch of videos last year, and I don’t think it was our best video. But it was one of the best Harlem Shakes.
Q: If you could play a sport that is currently featured in the Winter Olympics, what would it be?
A: I’d probably be a snowboarder. I have no idea how to snowboard, but it looks pretty cool.
Q: If you could play a sport that is currently featured in the Summer Olympics, what would it be?
A: I’d want to be a speedwalker. Because those people are just bosses.
Q: What’s the best part about being a varsity athlete at Princeton?
A: My team. Hands down. Not to be too cheesy. But they make me a better person, and my experience would not have been the same without them.
Q: Could you describe what a Word Shirt is?
A: Sure. Before our first game, our coach gives out Word Shirts. Basically, there’s a tradition behind this that some girl was a super fan of the team a long time ago. And she gave the team these shirts with words on the back of them. They were given out randomly the first year, but they turned out to kind of match the players’ personalities. So from that point on, they started handing out these word shirts to us. They give us words that they think we embody. It’s probably our favorite tradition on the team. The first thing you ask when you meet someone is “What were your words?”
Q: So …
A: My freshman year was “pounce.” Then “push.” Then last year I had “warrior” and I think that one was my favorite.
Q: What would your spirit animal be and why?
A: A dolphin. I love warm weather. And I love just being free and having fun. Whenever I’m in Florida and I see a dolphin, I’ll just chase after them for like an hour to the point that mom would come looking for me.
Q: Would you rather have side soup or side salad, and why?
A: Right now I’d rather have side soup, because it’s really cold when we practice outside right now.