Sharleen Sarmiento Mariano
Played for CSUMB: 2012-2013
Coaches: Alena “Leni” Porte
I currently have administrative responsibilities with a local home health, work as a physical therapy aide with a local Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Clinic, and serve as a private personal trainer for people without financial stability and access to a gym. I also informally mentor college students (including, but not limited to: recreational student-athletes, first-generation college students, and Kinesiology students) as they navigate their journey towards graduation. This August 2018, I will be attending West Coast University to pursue a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy with a vision to come back to CSUMB and serve as a Physical Therapist for the rugby team! Though I do not play rugby anymore (due to an excessive number of head injuries), I still recreationally play touch rugby with friends and support/watch professional and collegiate rugby!
2. What is your best memory of CSUMB Rugby?
Being forced to stop our morning conditioning workout to get kicked out of the CSUMB track, for not being “an actual team.” This was at 7 am by a coach from the Athletic Department and his student-athletes. This empowered us to find new ways to get CSUMB to take us seriously as a team!
Using/pushing cars, using forks, and using shoes as cones and exercise equipment for conditioning practices when the unrecognized women’s rugby team did not have access to a facility (~2013-2014). It taught all of us how to make do with what we have and gave all of us the drive to get our team established within the university and within USA Rugby!
And seeing Women’s Rugby featured on the front page of the School Newspaper!!!!!!
3. What would you say were your greatest athletic, academic accomplishments and/or coaching accomplishments during your time with CSUMB Rugby?
Experiencing and playing with a team that was once “Fresno-Bay,” that only had ~4 CSUMB students, to co-coaching and leading a team of ~45 cipped players, then playing against Fresno State in a league game ~2 years later!
Through a community effort, I was able to create, facilitate, and coordinate two holistic-wellness and leadership-development retreats for the women rugby players in winter 2015 and winter 2016!
4. How would you describe the CSUMB rugby environment while you were involved? For example socially and/or competitively etc?
As a player in 2012, it was a skeleton but with so much potential! There were only 2 female players that were always present at the men’s meeting. The players on the men’s team were extremely welcoming and filled with humility and kindness every time I came out to a men’s practice, but they were very shy and quiet off the field. There were a scarce amount of social activities to do, especially as a student that was under 21. Every time I asked for information regarding a women’s team/ social, I was invited and encouraged by veteran players to think about potentially taking on a leadership role.
5. What piece of advice would you have for current CSUMB ruggers? Academically or rugby-related?
Just as in a game of rugby, you will NOT be able to get through ANYTHING on your own, but rather with a community/team- you just have to remember and reflect upon the people that are behind you, on and off the field! Though you can’t always see them if you listen and press in hard enough you will be able to notice the people that are reaching out, supporting you, and cheering you on!
No matter how new, insufficient, or lonely you feel, you are already apart of a family! You are loved, you are welcomed – exactly just as you are, and you belong.
Rugby is more than a game nor a sport. If you can understand and conquer the basics of rugby, you will be able to overcome and persevere through any trial and tribulation. No matter how lonely or defeated you feel on your journey, remember that you have a team and community behind you, ready to help you continue on in whatever fight/ journey you find yourself in.
In addition, find ways to connect and intersect what you learn in the classroom to your growth and development as a rugby player! It will make your college experience fruitful!
6. If you can recall, why did you choose to join CSUMB Rugby?
As a first-generation student, I was longing for a community and friends. I remember I gave a friend of mine, Joe, a big bear hug, he said he was impressed by my strength and invited me out to a men’s practice. I was welcomed as I am, just how I was. I loved and gravitated towards the phrase, “There’s a position for anyone, any strength level, and any size.” It was the first time in my life that my physical strength was welcomed and accepted rather than judged.
7. How did your athletic involvement aid in the path that you chose following graduation?
I decided to pursue a career in physical therapy and higher education due to the lack of accessibility and education to proper therapeutic and rehabilitative interventions/ services by the university for the recreational student-athletes that sustained neurological and orthopedic injuries (especially for first-generation and low-income students!). Many students were unaware of the repercussions of potentially sustaining multiple injuries without proper rehabilitative interventions.