by Jillian Decker | staff writer
Feb. 17, 2022
Kindness. When people hear that word, it typically resonates positive thoughts. For the Duquesne women’s basketball team, kindness is something that is emblematic of the team environment.
Perhaps no one resembles kindness quite like third-year player Amaya Hamilton, who relishes in the opportunity to be kind.
“It means a lot to me. I don’t ever want to make anyone feel unwelcomed or anything,” Hamilton said. “It makes me happy to be there for other people and to make them feel happy.”
Both on and off the court, Hamilton does whatever she can to make sure that kindness is a key factor in the culture surrounding the team.
“I just feel that my role to be kind is to make everyone feel comfortable and have an individual relationship with every person,” Hamilton said. “I also feel that giving them a resource and someone to talk to is just what I try and do for everyone, making everyone feel like they can always express themselves to me and [that] I can always be there for them.”
Although kindness is essential for good team chemistry and comradery, it can also go a long way in making the world a better place. For many children, they look up to athletes as role models, so caring for one another and displaying kindness becomes critical.
“I definitely think there can be a negative stigma sometimes toward athletes and sports players just because people may think they are full of themselves or super focused on their sport,” Hamilton said. “However, I think that if athletes are kind to everyone, it just shows that they are more than just athletes and not just shallow people.
“I think it is definitely important for everyone to know and realize they have personalities outside of their sport.”
Hamilton likes a lot about the culture surrounding the team. Being around each other for most of the year, both on and off the court, allows them to grow, individually and collectively.
“Everyone is very different, and everyone is accepting. We have people from all across the world, like all different countries and places,” Hamilton said with pride in her voice. “We all have very different personalities, but we all gel together for one common goal with the team.
“Nobody ever makes fun of everyone. Rather, everyone is accepting. It’s like a family environment to be in.”
As a naturally kind figure, it’s not uncommon for Hamilton to complete acts of generosity in any way possible.
“When my teammate was going through a lot, I made sure I was always there for her. I would spend the night in her room and always check in. This might not be the smartest idea, but I would leave class to go be with her, I was always willing to do that,” Hamilton said, laughing.
Hamilton said that the “dedication she had to her [the teammate]” during that time was the kindest thing [she had] ever done for someone.
She also reflected on what kindness means to her and what she thinks it can do for her team, both now and moving forward.
“To me, being kind just means making someone feel accepted and valuable while also making them feel special in their own way,” Hamilton said. “For a sports team, kindness can bring a lot of people together and I think that if you don’t have people who are kind to each other, you’re not going to get anywhere.
“When everyone is kind, it helps in making people feel more encouraged to work for each other and with each other, and I think that is what creates a successful environment in the end.”