The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Laura Murphy of Penn women's lacrosse 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Laura Murphy. I’m a senior on the women’s lacrosse team and I’m an attacker. I’m from Connecticut. I’ve played lacrosse since I was three, and I committed to Penn as a sophomore.
2. What is your favorite part of playing lacrosse?
My favorite part of playing lacrosse is being with the team a lot. We are pretty close, which is something that is unique to both our sport and also Penn. We really are a family — we hang out all the time, and it’s great to be with them. I also love the actual sport. It’s fun to just be outside and play it. A lot of the drills we have been doing lately are really fun and it’s an exciting sport.
3. I know that it’s been a while, but when you do play games, what is your pregame routine?
In high school, I used to have a very specific routine. I would eat the same sandwich and listen to the same music every game day. Then, one time, my mom accidentally made the wrong sandwich for one of my games. I panicked and had the breakdown of any athlete whose pre-game ritual is disrupted. But then I tried to start thinking about it where if something goes wrong in your pre-game routine, you will actually have a better game than normal and play even better. So I gave up on having routines. I’m definitely still listening to music and hanging out with girls before games, but I’m not sitting in the corner with my head down hyping myself up. I’m more of a dance party pump-up vibe before a game.
4. What did you do as a team during quarantine to stay in shape together?
Our team started off doing some more intensive lacrosse-related stuff, like watching film or doing certain drills on our own, when we weren’t sure what the timeline of the pandemic would be like. Once it looked like we wouldn’t be playing for a long time, we did some group workouts, but the stuff we were doing was more to stay connected. We would have team Zooms and movie-watching parties. We had a couple of girls organize within our team to watch movies and reading books related to the Black Lives Matter movement back in April. In terms of staying in shape, our strength coach, Corey Waltz, was really great. He made all these specialized workouts for us while we were at home and catered them to the fact that people had different equipment and different levels of ability to go run on your high school turf or not. He also encouraged us to do some of the Pottruck workouts. A good mix of staying connected and bonded, but also staying in shape.
5. How was your return to in-person practice these past few weeks?
It’s great, but there have definitely been some speed bumps. The seniors were in quarantine the first two weeks of practice, and now the freshmen are in quarantine due to different exposures, which makes things tricky. But everyone is staying positive about it, and when we are actually at practice together, it's great to be back on the field.
6. How does the Ivy League canceling spring sports make you and the other seniors feel in your last season?
It is definitely weird and pretty devastating. Last year, when our spring season got canceled, we never once thought that even this season would be canceled as well and that we would go two years without playing in the Ivy League. I was actually injured as a freshman, so I’ve only played one year, which is definitely not what I expected when I committed to Penn. But like I said, we are trying to stay positive about it. We are definitely bummed not to be playing this year, especially when other teams across the country have the opportunity to play. We are taking this time to stay positive, have fun together, and enjoy the sport.
7. Can you describe your experience playing lacrosse at Penn in 3 words?
I would say thrilling as one of them because we play at such a high level that all the games are so exciting. There is nothing like a game day when there are fans there, the music is blasting and you are playing a really good team. Your heart rate is just at 100 percent for three hours straight. We have also just had a lot of ups and downs, obviously, over the time that I have been here with corona and injuries, so you are definitely always on your toes and I can say that has been true of all my four years. It has been such a roller coaster, but in the best way.
After that, I would say rewarding: not only is there such a good community within the team, but it's great still being connected to so many girls who have already graduated. I think that is something that is really special to Penn, the fact that there is such a good network even beyond when you are actually on the team and in college. We get paired with a mentor right off the bat and you really get to understand what it means to be a Penn lacrosse player, not just now, but for your whole life. You get to meet alumni and go to events, which is such a good experience, even off the field. On the field as well, it's so rewarding because we spend so many hours in the fall and in season, that just seeing all of your hard work come to fruition each year when things start to click with the team makes everything worth it.
I would say my last one is fun. I’ve always been someone who tries to take things lightly and obviously work hard, but not be too intense. I’m definitely the person who has a lot of fun at practice and is always doing the music or pumping people up. I try to have fun with it. There is really nothing like being out there with everyone and it has been so fun over the past four years getting to be close with the older girls, and now as a senior, being a leader for the younger girls. It is just such a good experience, I really can’t say anything more than it’s so fun and I am just grateful for being a part of the team for all four years.
8. What was your best moment as a part of Penn lacrosse?
There are a lot of really great moments here at Penn, but one that is really special to me happened in my sophomore year, which was the year I actually got to play. It was Easter Weekend, so my entire extended family was at my grandma's, and I didn’t even know this, but they were watching the game. I got in in the last 15 minutes and I scored, and my whole family was watching and I didn’t know. After the game, I went to my grandma's, which is my family tradition, and they were all there and they thought it was the coolest thing that I had scored in a D-I program. They were pretty proud of me and made it seem like a big deal, which was pretty exciting for me.
9. What is your major and what are your plans after you graduate?
I am in Wharton and I am double majoring in management and OID. Within those, I decided when I was a sophomore to do something more specific in each of them. In OID, I am in the Decision Processes track, where I am learning a lot about how people think, which is an interesting track inside Wharton and one that I don’t think people usually take. My management concentration is in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which is pretty cool as well. Both have been pretty interesting concentrations, which I don’t think you typically see from a Wharton student, but it has been really fun for me to take advantage of all the great courses here at Penn. After graduation, if I don’t take another year to play lacrosse, I am working in New York at Morgan Stanley in Capital Markets.
10. What is something you learned how to do or changed about yourself during quarantine?
I told myself I would do things like yoga, cooking and other standard quarantine activities, but I got pretty bored with those. I actually got a new puppy during quarantine, so I learned how to take care of him. My previous dog I got when I was in first grade. Even though I told my parents I would take care of it, I definitely did not when I was six or seven years old. So I learned how to take care of a puppy and cope with him, because he is definitely a menace sometimes.
11. What TV show are you watching right now and on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend it to a friend?
I just watched Bridgerton, mostly because of the hype it got. I thought it was good, even though the acting wasn’t great. I would give it a 7/10: there are definitely some juicy scenes, but it isn’t the most well-done cinematic production I have ever seen.
12. What is the best class you've taken at Penn?
Decision Processes is probably the coolest class I have taken at Penn. It is all about learning thinking traps and the way people make decisions and analyze things, which was pretty eye-opening for me. The stuff that we learned is so applicable to how we think and you don’t even realize it, it’s subconscious. I was able to apply these things when I was interviewing for jobs as well, as I could apply it to the financial world. Even though it’s not an analytical class, it does relate to how people across the world make decisions. It was a really interesting course and I would recommend it to anyone in or out of Wharton.
13. What other sports do you enjoy playing and watching?
I used to play soccer, basketball, tennis, water polo and a little bit of volleyball. Oh, and diving too. I definitely pursued a lot of sports when I was younger. I miss soccer a lot. I just love how you are always under pressure, unlike lacrosse, where when you have possession of the ball, you can take a second and kind of rest. I enjoy watching soccer and football a lot. When I was a freshman, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, so I immediately hopped on the bandwagon for that, and I love just watching football on a Sunday.
14. Who is your favorite professional athlete?
My favorite professional athlete is probably Lindsey Vonn. She has always been pretty inspirational to me, as I was injured as a freshman due to my tearing my ACL in senior year of high school. She has torn her ACL five or six times and she is just so cool. She comes back stronger every time. Her social media is also very inspirational, and I think she has a documentary. She is just awesome and I have looked up to her a lot.
15. If you could go back in time and talk to yourself as a freshman, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself?
I think I would say, "Try to always keep in mind why you love the sport," because no matter how hard you work and how hard you play, if your heart isn’t in it, you can’t have fun with it. I have always tried to stay positive with everything, and remember what it was like when I was a little kid, and why I love the sport so much. If you have that passion, it never seems like a chore, it's just a fun thing you do with your friends and that is really what has made my time at Penn pretty incredible. I just loved being on the field and playing with everyone. To anyone who is coming in to a difficult, challenging, intense D-I program like this, remember why you love the sport, and that will get you through any tough times and just make it so much more worth it when you are out there with your best friends.
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