University of Oregon 2014
Tenacity Project East Bay Regional Coordinator
Chelsea Randel’s positivity is contagious. She has a passion for teamwork and community, and she thrives when she’s giving back. Maybe that’s what makes her a perfect fit for an organization like Tenacity, and maybe that’s why she jumped at the opportunity to come back and join our staff in January 2015. Chelsea played lacrosse at the University of Oregon and graduated in the spring of 2014. Five years earlier, she’d had a tough time deciding between U of O and St. Mary’s in California, but, as she told me, “I went up to Oregon one last time and the second I stepped on the campus, I knew that was where I belonged. My older brother went there, so really my love for the school started when I first visited as a freshman in high school.”
She was interning at a sports company in Austin, Texas, planning triathlons, marathons and bike races when we snagged her six months after graduation. Here’s what she had to say about the Tenacity family and about her time playing for the Ducks.
You played for BearLax in high school and now you’re working full time with the Tenacity Project in the East Bay. What drew you back? Has your perception of Tenacity’s mission changed as your role has changed?
I was catching up with Theresa, seeing how things were going, and a week later I she emailed me saying they were looking to hire someone full time. It was early November and my internship was ending in December, so at that point I was starting to look for other jobs back in California or Texas or Oregon. I was looking all over the place and then I got this email, and I was so, so happy. I’m so grateful to be working for an organization that helps girls grow in the way that Tenacity does. Our mission is to be there for players, not only on the lacrosse field but in the community and down the road from now. I don’t think necessarily the goals have changed, but its gotten bigger and better—the fact that we can offer financial aid and help with college recruiting now. It’s not just two hours a week on the lacrosse field. Those principles have been there since as long as I can remember.
Tenacity is, as you’ve said, a mission driven organization. While we focus on lacrosse, we also want to help our girls build character and become involved with their communities. Can you talk a little bit about your work with O Heroes at UO?
As a freshman I started going to meetings and events with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). My junior and senior year, I held a position on the SAAC board, and that was a blast. We planned community service events and gave students an opportunity to unwind. Through that, I became super involved with O-Heroes.
So, O Heroes slogan is “Athletes on the Field, Champions in the Community.” Every Wednesday was O Heroes day at the Boys and Girls Club of Eugene and it was so fun. It truly was a time to step back from sports and school work and everything going on in your personal life and just have fun with these kids. We’d play basketball or cards or watch a movie. I actually took an internship at the Boys and Girls Club at the end of my junior year and then all of my senior year. O Heroes was really able to help me get that internship and inspired me to get involved in that way. The kids looked up to you as if you’re this amazing role model. We’d have O Heroes Days at our games, where all kids would get in free or get a free t-shirt. And then we’d all wear O Heroes warm up shirts to support them. I’m actually trying to get more involved with volunteer opportunities here in Pleasanton, because I just really miss it.
Did you have any pre-game rituals?
In our locker room, there’s a giant O for Oregon on the floor. It’s huge and yellow and it takes up like 90% of the floor, and we would never step on it. You had to respect the O. You would walk around it or step over it, but on game days we would all come into the middle of it and do our cheer there.
Do you have a moment that, for you, represents why you love lacrosse?
My freshmen year we were playing in our conference tournament and we were beating Stanford 7 to 0, and then they ended up winning. Then my sophomore year of college, we played them in the conference tournament again and this time, we beat them. There was a minute left of the game and I remember looking at my teammates and being like, “Wow, we actually did it.” It was the first time Oregon had won the conference championship and I just remember looking around and seeing every single teammate smiling and our coaches smiling and our athletic director smiling. Everyone was so happy, and it was such a great feeling. That was the moment we’d been working for all year.
So you were an underclassmen. Were you playing in those games?
I didn’t play the whole first half of the Stanford game my freshmen year and then when my coach called my name in the second half, I was like, “Wait, did she just say my name?” And I went over there and she said, “We need the ball back. We really need some fresh legs.” So I went in and we went into a high pressure defense. I don’t even remember if we got the ball back or not. I remember just freaking out as a freshman. And then my sophomore year, I didn’t start but I played a bit in the game.
I think it’s so important for players to realize that even if they’re not playing the entire game, or starting, that their contribution in practice and in pre-game is a huge factor in making the team great. And it’s hard to realize, but if you face your hardest competition in practice, game day is a lot easier.
I’m with you on that. Even junior and senior year I wasn’t always on the field for all fifty minutes of the game. There are thirty people on a team and it’s gotta be what’s best for the team in a particular game. But the Oregon team has what we call the Pillar Award and we vote for the person who stays positive and lifts the team up in a hard situation. I won that sophomore year, junior year and senior year. That solidified for me that I was a big part of the team even if I wasn’t a starter. That’s kind of my personality. I thrive on being a very positive, encouraging person and being there for people when I can be.
April 7, 2016
Written by: Courtney Bird