Friday, November 1, 2013

Lauren Shute: Despite not playing hoops, Richmond senior found her way to be an athlete for life

Lauren Shute is a girl after our own heart. The former Richmond player -- she has opted to forgo her senior year of eligibility -- loves to write about sports, particularly the stories no one tells from women's basketball (what a concept!). She has her own blog (just like us) and she loves to write. For a few minutes, though, Shute took the time to chat with LadySwish.

All the way from Dana Point, Ca., to Richmond. Why?

I don't really think of myself as a California girl. I grew up in a gym every day. We went to the beach, but I was never into the California lifestyle. We actually have a lot of family in the southeast, so I always visited. I actually got recruited by Richmond really early. We just happened to be playing North Carolina, and when I got on campus, I absolutely loved it. Committed super early and after having agreements with other coaches to take official visits, I told them, 'I think I'm good.' "

After playing sparingly over three years (Shute appeared in just 25 games in that span), why did you decide not to play this season?

I wasn't playing a lot, and I got to a place where I wasn't happy doing it anymore. I was a journalism major, and I found myself leaning more toward my journalism. I just wasn't happy anymore. I've had some family stuff going on. My mom's been through a couple of surgeries. I think I got burned out.

When I got here, it was really the first time on my own. I was in over my head. I was so excited to be away from home my freshman year, but at the same time, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be. My dad had been my only coach growing up. He coached me club, high school, the whole deal. It was really weird not having him on the sideline. I'm not sure I fit into the system in Richmond. I had a hard time finding my place on the team and adjusting to playing.

So what are your thoughts on Richmond, the school?

I love it! I absolutely love it. When I was picking schools, I was looking at a school I'd be happy at even if I wasn't playing. When things didn't go well at practice, I almost felt bipolar. I'd be so unhappy at practice, and I'd walk to the dorm and be so happy. I have unbelievable friends, amazing professors. I love my major. The campus is gorgeous. I love being on my own. I love everything even though I wasn't playing a lot. The community at Richmond is so close, I felt connected to everything. I got very lucky.

So tell us about this blog you've started.

Obviously, I feel like I have an interesting story. I absolutely love the girls that I've played with, and I feel like everybody has such an interesting story, and sometimes women's basketball doesn't get as much media attention. I love writing feature stories and writing about sports.

I like talking to people like Niveen Rasheed and Jacki Gemelos (her first two blog stories), people who you might know their names but you don't know their story. I'd like talking to someone who isn't all that well known to get their story out there.

And your cool internship?

I interned in New York this summer with Sports Illustrated for Kids. I was a reporting intern. It was my first time in the city. I interviewed Shaq; I went to the NBA draft. It sounds really corny, but I think I found a way to be an athlete for life. It was the first time I was excited about basketball in a long time.

What did you ask Shaq?

I was starstruck. When I was younger, he was like my favorite person ever. So I told him that before I interviewed him. He was releasing a shoe line, so I asked him about how he felt about the shoes being rereleased.

You're graduating in the spring. Then what?

I was invited back to SI, so I would love to intern there again. I would love to have a definite plan, but with journalism you kind of can't. I love it. I just want to keep doing what I love.

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