Five at The IX featuring Ailish Forfar

Ailish is a rockstar! I spoke with her a week ago about her time covering the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games for Samsung. Enjoy!

Erica L. Ayala: Let’s start with South Korea. You got to go Olympics, the Paralympics, and cover that for Samsung. How did that opportunity come about?

Ailish Forfar: I started a second degree at Ryerson in 2016 and that program is called sport media; it’s something that is new. They just had their first graduating class last year … one of my professors just posted that Samsung was holding the international competition, encouraging students to apply because they want us to try to push ourselves as much as we can. So I saw the I saw the application online and I thought well why not?

I applied and basically what they asked for for the application was a two-minute video and you had to go with the theme do what you can’t. So, that kind of aligns with the Paralympics because a lot of these athletes are breaking boundaries.

I had to miss two weeks of school but the whole application was really cool and it was a great experience to get there and then you know at that point I was just thrown into it and I had an absolute blast.

ELA: As an athlete, you know what it is like to prepare for big games. But what were some of the transition that you had to make as far as preparing for an athletic competition on the other side of the cameras as a vlogger?

AF: For me the biggest adjustment was, I wanted to show the stories–you know when you think of the Paralympics a lot of times you think wow it’s just so incredible … I wanted to share those stories and not treat it like, “you’ve come through so much in your life.”

it’s like, you are here at the Paralympics, this is it. Let’s see what you’re going to do for your country, for yourself. I just wanted to tell the story and not shine that Paralympic light.

So I thought that was the biggest adjustment was trying to share their stories as equal as able-bodied Olympians that were there two weeks before. Am I just really enjoy being a top the athlete because I can understand their story a little bit. I’ve played hockey for 20 years now. I know what it’s like to be dedicated to something and to go through trial and error.

It is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to do even compared to my own like athletic achievements. It just felt it just it was such a special atmosphere to be there … It was incredible.

ELA: When you’re in front of a camera as a broadcaster, what are some of the things about your personality that you feel allow you to be successful? What are some other things that you really work on and try to build up as a part of how you present yourself?

AF:I think if you are very open and you’re yourself it comes across really positively on air … I just try to come across like the genuine athletic, interested person I am. I think that really speaks highly while you’re on.

I just try to push myself outside the box as it is a place to learn because then when I go to something like the Paralympics I feel comfortable and prepared.analysis I really hadn’t had much experience broadcasting. But leading up to where I am now I’ve had you know a lot of great experiences through class–whether hosting a show doing color commentary, or that, That’s something I’ve really learned in the last two years with my degree at Ryerson. Before air, that you’re not trying to be someone else, you’re not acting.

I try to strive myself to be better is obviously just like knowing that fine line of being too much of like a jock. I don’t want to stereotype myself as that one type of on-air person. I think if this is a future for me, you need to be able to do both. So, I’m trying to push myself in my future projects at school and in the real world to make sure I’m doing both and not just being that fun-loving athlete.

I want to be able to talk about things that maybe those deeper issues are or maybe are not as bubbly at the moment. So that’s something I’m working on this upcoming year.

ELA: Let’s switch to you signing with Markham and reuniting with your good friend Laura Stacey.

AF: This summer I was undecided if I wanted to continue playing. I had a bit of an injury at the end of the season with Ryerson … I kind of took a couple of months for myself … I didn’t really focus on hockey which was nice to have like a couple of months where I’m just going to worry about my health and you know my school and what’s important to me.

And then I started I started missing it a lot and I got invited to that USports Canada camp in the summer and I had to start training a little bit. It came at the right time in terms of resparking that love. I just wanted to make sure that the team might end up with is one that I know of and enjoy playing for. Markham was a perfect fit for me not only because Laura’s on the team but also talking to the coaching staff in our GM like they call it “Fun-da” for a reason.

Then obviously, Laura and I go way back. We were on the [PWHL Toronto Jr.] Aeroes together for two years and then we were at Dartmouth for our four years which are probably like our favorite four years or lives. We were inseparable … You know I’m really lucky that hockey’s introduced me like to my favorite people in my life. So she’s one of them, for sure.

ELA: You mentioned you celebrated with Laura when she scored.  I hope that she reciprocated because if I’m reading the box scores correctly, you also scored this week. 

AF: Yes! It was nice to get the monkey off the back early. I was like I’m not going to make my season about points but it’s really nice to be rewarded. I worked hard, the puck there. I put it in the net. I think I very much doubt the wave of relief I know was game one. But it’s nice to get that first goal under your belt so you know what it feels like and I’m going to take that this weekend against Montreal and I think it’s just nice to get a goal on the board early. I’ll take it!

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