Maggie Wadsworth painstakingly slaved over each and every brush stroke and carefully blended shades of grey, white, brown and black to create her masterpiece.
She painted a portrait of her uncle’s tiny white puppy, Molly. Wadsworth used small, thin strokes to create the illusion that this dog has thick, fluffy fur. She used darker shades of grey to add shadows and volume. She created realistic detailed by adding stray pieces of fur slightly covering Molly’s eyes and ears. Molly is practically jumping off the canvas, wagging her tail and ready to play.
Wadsworth is a forward and midfielder on the Lehigh women’s soccer team and she takes this creativity and attention to detail with her onto the field.
She has been interested in art and playing soccer since kindergarten, and she is equally as passionate about both activities. These two hobbies have always acted as stress relief, and the combination of school, sports and art has created balance and organization in her daily life.[parallax-scroll id=”55574″]
She believes the way she perceives the game and her ability to distribute the ball on the field are a direct result of her creativity as an artist. Wadsworth looks forward to soccer practice or a free moment to draw or paint so she can “reset.” She said if she is ever having a bad day or feels a great deal of stress from school work she has something to take her mind off of it and she can come back to her work feeling more relaxed.
“Although [soccer and art]are very different I think they do correlate,” Wadsworth said. “A couple of my strengths for soccer are my technical ability and my ability to distribute the ball. I think my vision and creativity carry onto the field.”
Women’s soccer coach Eric Lambinus thinks it is important for soccer players, especially forwards like Wadsworth, to think creatively. He believes attacking players have to be able to move and change their way of thinking quickly and differently than defensive players.
He believes Wadsworth’s creativity and mindset is apparent on the field and sets her apart from the competition. Junior midfielder Sabrina Mertz agrees.
“She is a very technically sound player and I think her creative style allows her to make unique runs and allows her to be more adaptable to changing situations in games, making her very dynamic in the attacking third,” Mertz said.
Mertz recalls passing Wadsworth the ball outside the 18-yard box in the Mountain Hawks’ game against Lafayette College on Oct.14. She watched Wadsworth move swiftly around a defender in a way that not many other players would ever think of. Wadsworth capitalized on this pass to score Lehigh’s second goal extending its lead to two.
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to art, so that carries over to soccer,” Wadsworth said. “I am never fully satisfied with my play and I constantly want to improve, so in that sense I think my self-criticism gives me more of a competitive edge.”
Wadsworth believes her ability to take and build from constructive criticism and perform goes back to her perfectionism.
Lambinus recounts that last spring Wadsworth was “still finding her way,” and he was tough on her. There were two or three consecutive days where his son came with him to practice and noticed Lambinus putting pressure Wadsworth. Lambinus’ son commented that he thought she was going to quit.
However, Lambinus knew Wadsworth was the kind of player who could build from this criticism. He says Wadsworth was open to this critical type of coaching and it made her more determined to succeed. She responded well to Lambinus’ requests. Wadsworth was capitalized on his criticism and dramatically improve her skills during the offseason.
“She is a really creative kid,” Lambinus said. “She’s able to get out of tight spaces and she sees things that other kids don’t.”
Senior captain and defender Alyssa Reporti recalls a time, in a non-league game against the University of Delaware, Wadsworth was getting frustrated because her usual tactic to turn and redistribute the ball was failing her. She could not get around the player guarding her. When Lambinus took her out of the game, Reporti said he explained that she should try receiving the ball and looking to make a pass backwards. This way she would be able to get away from the defender without the ball.
“Maggie took this advice and immediately implemented it,” Reporti said. “It was impressive that she could take this advice and translate it into her game so quickly.”
Fine arts and athletics are two disciplines that are rarely seen as being intertwined. Wadsworth, however, possesses the quality and mindset that brings art and soccer together in a way that uses one to better the other. It’s her desire for perfection that enables her to take feedback and improve herself, both in the studio and on the field.