Countdown to lacrosse: Kelly Chandler

Jan. 23, 2014

Kelly Chandler

Sophomore, Midfield, 5-8
Salisbury, Md.

In 15 days, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team begins the 2014 season on Feb. 7 at Kennesaw State. To get ready for the 19th season in program history, will spotlight all 29 players and coaches Cathy Swezey, Susan Ellis and Julie Gardner. This segment will offer an inside look into the team on and off the field.

Today, Kelly Chandler, who wears jersey No. 15, continues our countdown. A sophomore from Salisbury, Md., she provided a spark as a freshman. She finished fifth on the team with 16 goals and was second behind fellow freshman Alexa Kunowsky with 22 draw controls. The midfielder played in 13 games and started 11 before a stress fracture in her back cut her season short. Rehab she went through back home over the summer, has Chandler feeling healthy, rejuvenated and confident about her sophomore season.

Chandler was named to the SEC's First-Year Academic Honor Roll and created her own major of psychology and group dynamics. She would like to pursue a career in sports psychology and keep with her family's tradition of helping others. Her mother is a registered nurse, her step-father is anesthesiologist and her older sister is heading to school to become a physician's assistant.

What was boarding school like (at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.)?

It was awesome. It was an amazing experience and I'm so glad I did it. I never really thought I would ever be a boarding school kid. But the opportunities I had there and just the people I met, the help I received there was just unparalleled… I don't think I would have come (to Vanderbilt) if it hadn't been for boarding school. At boarding school I gained an appreciation for academics and a higher institution. At Episcopal, they were about challenging you and making sure you making a better self. That is why Vanderbilt appealed to me. It is a rigorous academic school and they also offer high Division I competition. Just those two together mesh really well to me from my experience for boarding school. It was kind of a no-brainer to come here.

You played lacrosse and field hockey while you were there?

I played field hockey, lacrosse and then I switched between basketball and squash. Playing squash is an awesome experience. I played my junior year. It was my first JV sport and I loved it. The coach was awesome… The team was awesome and it was just so much fun to mix it up like that. It was right before lacrosse season too. It gave me enough free time to work out and do those type of workouts and also work on my quickness with squash, your footwork. It was a great experience for me.

How difficult of a sport was squash?

I think it is one of the most difficult sports I've played just because the way you have to move on the court and move around the other person while still trying to get them out. You can be super athletic and play against someone who is not athletic but they have great racquet skills and they can just school you on the court, keep you running around. I think that is the fun part, developing how to hit it, techniques and being able not to move on the court and have someone run around you. That is a great feeling.

You created your major?

It is psychology and group dynamics. I always wanted to do something with psychology. After working with teams and I took a class last semester that was focused around groups, I just like that whole vibe of working with groups. Hopefully one day I can become a sports psychologist. I definitely want to be involved with athletics at some point.

So sports psychologist is your dream job, at the moment?

At the moment, yeah. I don't know if you've heard of positive psychology but it is just a different take. Psychology has mostly been centered around diagnosing people with what is wrong with them and treating that. Positive psychology focuses on the strengths and what they have right now. Being able to use what you have to have fulfilling life, I'm attracted to that.

I have a back injury, a chronic back injury so I'll have it forever. I think that positive psychology aspect really helped me through. I stopped playing last year, the last four or five games because of it. I'm a very competitive athlete. So trying to find an outlet to help you have your injury and know you can still play with it, that's why I really liked it. It definitely shaped why I chose to create my own major… My teammates definitely helped me get through it and opened me up to different resources to use, which introduced me to the idea of positive psychology and meditation, self-help things that really transformed my injury to be a strength instead of a weakness.

Is that a strength the fact that you and other teammates (Mallory Schonk and Alexa Kunowsky) did play a lot as freshmen?

Absolutely. We weren't experienced and it took a while for us to get used to everything. This year coming back it is an absolute strength. We know how to handle situations and we are still learning. But just the presence we have is a lot stronger. Continuing on, when we're seniors I can't imagine how good it is going to be. That is also exciting to look forward.

How is this year's team different than last year's team?

I know everyone has been talking about the senior leadership but the senior leadership is amazing. They are united and makes us united. We're all involved with each other and love being around each other. I think last year's season fueled us for this year because we want people to know how good we are. We want to prove people wrong.

Age I picked up a lacrosse stick: Seven years old

I picked my jersey number because: I've always had a jersey number with 5 in it and I love Tim Tebow

When I was a kid I tried to be like: My sister (Kristen)

The thing that impresses me most about Coach Swezey: Competitiveness

Favorite part about playing at Vanderbilt: Everything

Favorite sport other than lacrosse: Snowboarding

Favorite musical performer: Ben Howard

Favorite movie: Dodgeball or Green Mile

Nobody can believe I watch this TV show: Orange is the New Black

Favorite midnight snack: Breakfast burrito

Favorite thing about myself: Hair, because Maggie Forker cuts it

Dream date: Rock climbing with a picnic

The best tasting food I can make: Quinoa burgers

My bucket list includes: Going to Alaska. Anything and everything really

Favorite athlete to watch in another sport: Bo Jackson

Talent I'd most like to have: Singing

Favorite thing to do away from lacrosse: Something outdoorsy or in the water

I'm as good as anyone at: Listening

My best non-athletic talent: Cooking

The person I'd love to trade places with for a day: The Buddha

What would I do if I won the lottery? Move to Australia

Ultimate vacation destination: Fiji

The person(s) I admire most: Tim Tebow, my sister (Kristen), Hope Solo, the Williams sisters, Bo Jackson

The best advice I've received: "You must rid yourself of every agitation of the spirit - desire and fear, of course, but also sorrow and excessive pleasure - in order to gain that tranquility of spirit, that freedom from care, which ensures both constancy and standing." - Cicero

Biggest influence in my life: My mom and sister

My advice to young people is: Never stop dreaming, reading and learning.



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