Ottawa ON- Representing your national team is never an easy feat, it takes years of dedication to the sport, along with many sacrifices along the way for an athlete to achieve such an honour. However, to have two family members on the same national team is almost unheard of. To both have the same passion and skill to compete at the highest level is no easy accomplishment, just ask the Gaspar twins.
Isabella and Gigi Gaspar both grew up in Burnaby, British Columbia, where they learned the game of women’s field lacrosse. They both immediately fell in love with the game and have since devoted a big part of their life to become the best players possible. We were able to sit down and discuss the journey the twins have been on, and how it has brought them to where they are now.
The twins competed together in the World Women's Sixes event that was held in Oshawa October 6-8. Although Canada ultimately came up short 8-7 in the gold medal game vs USA, the Gaspar twins played a key role for Team Canada. Especially on the defensive half where they have both become anchors for Arizona State, and now Team Canada. We were able to catch up with the sisters and asked them what it was like growing up together, and how it helped lead them to a spot on Team Canada.
Growing up what was it like playing and competing with your sister?
We are both extremely competitive and have been forever. Growing up it was always so cool being able to play beside each other in a variety of different sports. We have played 13 organized sports throughout our lives and 5 varsity sports so getting to play on the same team in so many different circumstances built us into the athletes we are today. Playing with each other has been so awesome and such a blessing because our chemistry on and off the field is unmatched. We have a “sixth sense” when we are on the field or court together in the sense that we don’t really have to communicate or look, we just kind of know where each other are and what we need to do to make a play. Some call it twin telepathy but we think it’s more or less just a product of all the experiences we’ve had playing together. The craziest thing was our schedules growing up. With all the sports we played we’d have 3 practices almost every night and our parents would take us from school to soccer practice, then basketball then we’d eat in the car and head to a hockey, volleyball, lacrosse or whatever game or practice was next. We are so extremely grateful for our parents because they gave us a space where we could grow as athletes together.
Did having a sister push you in ways that you believe helped you become the athlete you are today?
Definitely! I don’t think either of us would be where we are today without each other. We have a built-in best friend, training partner, and teammate everywhere we go. If there’s ever a day where one of us doesn’t feel like working out the other one will force us to. We are constantly pushing each other to get better and while we are each other's biggest supporters day in and day out, we are also each other's hardest critics. This is because since we know each other so well we expect a lot more out of each other than we do from our other teammates. Whether it’s in sport, school, or other aspects of our lives we just have always had an internal drive to be the best we can and we keep each other accountable so that we can get to where we want to go.
Was there always a thought to attend the same university? Why Arizona State?
Yes! There never really was an option for us to go separately. We are practically conjoined at the hip, so we made it pretty clear to any coaches that were recruiting us that we were a package deal. We couldn’t imagine not playing or going to university without each other, it would feel like a piece of us is missing. Arizona State checked every box for us! It was kind of a no-brainer when considering the location, coaching staff, weather, facilities, and opportunity. We first visited in October when it was cold and rainy at home, and we landed in Phoenix and there were palm trees and sun shining and we instantly fell in love. The second we stepped foot on campus it just felt right and after meeting the coaching staff and playing in their camp we knew it was the place for us.
What does playing for the national team mean to you?
It’s truthfully the biggest honour. Ever since we first picked up a stick, making Team Canada has been our dream so to be named to this team and having had the opportunity to play alongside this extremely talented roster was a true blessing. We feel so beyond grateful for all the coaches who have helped us develop into the players we are today and for our family as well as everyone who has supported us throughout our athletic careers so far. We were so grateful for the opportunity and hope to compete for Canada again someday!
About Lacrosse Canada
Founded in 1867, Lacrosse Canada is the governing body responsible for all aspects of lacrosse in Canada. Our organization is comprised of 10 Member Associations representing nearly 85,000 individual participants, including coaches, officials, and athletes of all ages and abilities. Lacrosse Canada’s mission is to honour the sport of lacrosse and its unique nation-building heritage, by engaging our members, leading our partners, and providing opportunities for all Canadians to participate. Lacrosse Canada oversees the delivery of numerous national championships and the participation of Team Canada at all international events sanctioned by World Lacrosse. Lacrosse Canada is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values, including our corporate partners - Nike, CoachThem, Gait, Cascade and Baron Rings - as well as our funding partners the Government of Canada, the Coaching Association of Canada, and the Canadian Lacrosse Foundation.
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