Promenade Perspective

“The mental aspect of any game is special because you can’t see what goes through an athlete’s head. I particularly love softball (and baseball) because they’re so mentally driven and they’re not just games. They’re really lessons in life playing out on a field.”
~Natalie Stoberman

Promenade Perspective! At this “point” (as in viewpoint, play on words for perspective) it has been well established that she.lace is a fan of literary devices such as: puns, metaphors, similes, personifications, etc. We just believe they’re great poetic tools that make for colourful writing. BUT, the title of this week’s post is more than just a grasp for an alliteration. It represents a written expression of the convergence of art, culture and sneakers that results in a form of women’s empowerment unique to our model. There’s a method to our mayhem, even if it seems we’re just babbling on. It’s kind of like in baseball when you observe the catcher giving, what seems to be, a bunch of random signs to the pitcher. It’s poetry in motion, and it may be hard for everyone to interpret at times… But we all understand when that ball sails over the plate and the umpire yells “strike”. It’s a method of communication that’s being put on display in a public forum… It may not be understood or register with everyone who observes it, but it still has a deep and valuable meaning. That’s a Promenade Perspective. So, give us to the end of the post and you’ll see we have a very low percentage of “swinging and missing”. For now…. It’s definition time!

Promenade can be defined as: a stroll or walk, especially in a public place, as for pleasure or display. It’s also understood by its common location which is typically along a waterfront. Here’s our message though… It’s done in public in a context where one knows others will be watching and observing. We dare say a promenade is meant to be a personal public display. Sounds awfully similar to what an athlete does routinely. Most athletes (at least on game/competition day) perform in the “public” to some extent. An athlete’s performance could be understood as a promenade… A personal action put on public display. Now, an athlete that can successfully channel their concentration and block out distractions usually has positive results. It’s what she.lace refers to as tapping into your Promenade Perspective. Our she.lace model Natalie Stoberman knows all too well about putting on a personal display in the eye of the public.

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Photo credit: Humber Hawks

“The batter on deck is @nat_stoberman. She’s gone 2/3 so far tonight with a home run and a RBI double. She’s attempting to maintain her astronomical .450 batting average for the season. This she.lace slugger has been owning the plate tonight… The ball must look like a beach ball. Don’t be surprised if we see another dinger followed by her trademark stroll around the bases like a promenade trot. We can’t wait for her post-game interview.”:

To me sports is…

Natalie: To me all sports are the realization of mental and physical synchronization.

It takes thousands of hours, sometimes most of one’s life, but you can’t have the physical gains without the mental aspect of your body and the game. No matter how physically talented you are, if you can’t let go of mistakes or can’t get rid of your negative thoughts that get in your way then success will essentially be unachievable.  

But if you can control your mind, while you put in the physical hours, then decisions become proactive instincts. It’s a beautiful thing for any athlete. But to me, the mental aspect of any game is special because you can’t see what goes through an athlete’s head.

I particularly love softball (and baseball) because they’re so mentally driven and they’re not just games. They’re really lessons in life playing out on a field.

Batting slumps and errors are symbols for the hardships in life and the mistakes you’re bound to make as a human being. Winnings streaks are the good times and losing streaks are the times of gratitude because things could be much worse. A 3-2 count or coming off the bench is a metaphor for the times when you have to buckle down and make the best of an opportunity or whatever comes your way. And “keep your eye on the ball” really means “keep your eye on the dream”.

But I find this is why a lot of employers like to hire athletes. Not because of the high levels of dedication or teamwork, but because they’ve learned so much about life.

Notice how many different mic flags (plastic covering wrapped around the mic) were exhibited in that demo reel? Oh and trust us…there’s more. Seems like employers really do like to hire athletes. That, or they like to hire super ambitious, diligent, professional, stylish, kindhearted, good-natured, efficient young ladies.

Well, there’s the old adage that “art imitates life”…we’re adding a new expression to the world of adages and idioms: sports models life. And our MODEL certainly is a prime example of what we mean. Take a look at her website and you’ll see what we’re talking about!

How long did you play sports competitively? What is your fondest memory?

Natalie: I’m 25 now, and I’d say I’ve been playing softball for 20 of those years. My God…

There are too many to count, but playing at Humber has been a long playlist of memories. Winning back-to-back championships has to take the cake. Especially the second ‘ship against St. Clair College. They were undefeated and beat us earlier in the tournament so we had to beat them twice in the finals. We did that and in Game 2 we came back and won in extras. It was unbelievable.

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Whoa, Whoa wait…Back to Back champions. Seriously?! Well, Natalie is a Torontonian (technically she’s from Mississauga, but it’s all the same. Sauga is a fun place, kind of like the PartyNextDoor for Toronto) so it only makes sense! #TorontovsEverbody:

Athletics, empowerment… How do the two align for you?

Natalie: They align because there’s a constant need to push yourself! Empowerment comes from accomplishment. You are going to feel good about yourself when you can squat more at the racks, run faster or hit the ball further when you see results from hard work.  And you’re better off if you can channel all of that into the real world.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve taken away from being an athlete? How does being a woman influence this lesson?

Natalie: First of all, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is figuring out how to forgive myself when I screw up.

The second greatest lesson has been learning how to be someone that people can lean on. And especially for women in sports, like athletes and even in media, it’s even more crucial to build one another up because the shift of looking towards women in sports is relatively new.

What’s your connection to Lake Promenade Park?

Natalie: I played there as a kid! Going back brings back a lot of memories of my dad coaching me and having pure fun. And there’s a frog at the waterpark that always makes me think of my grandmother and all the times she took me there.


You’ve traded in your cleats for sneakers, how do sneakers now empower you?

Natalie: Sneakers empower me because they’re another outlet for self-expression. I have a firm belief (thanks to my mother) that shoes make the outfit. When I know I’m being myself with my funky prints and looking *like a boss* and comfortable, I am in my element.

Photo Credit: Instagram/@nat_stoberman

How is it the same or different?

Natalie: It’s very different! When I put on my cleats it felt like I was going to work and that I was going to “make shit happen”.

My love for sneakers simply complements who I am. But I’ll still make shit happen.


Why did you model for she.lace?

Natalie: Because the [movement] speaks to me on so many levels. And like I said earlier, it’s crucial to support women paving the way in male-dominated avenues.


How far can you crank one into center field? 😉

Natalie: Far enough, lol.

Word association…. Humber Hawks___

Natalie: Winning.

That’s what we call championshit… Excuse our language, championship!

Speaking of #Winning…
finally! a podcast that has a focus on women’s sports. Wait, just in case you missed it “finally!” was actually a double entendre…that’s the name of the podcast Natalie hosts.


“Finally, we exist! This is the podcast that talks about men’s and women’s sports equally…and we will confront the inequality of sports.” Do we even have to add anything else? That’s what you call a tagline, and THAT is what she.lace call’s WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT! So if you’re interested in listening to the insights. expertise and sporting jewels from a wide range of experienced and well accomplished women in the sports industry this is the podcast for you. Oh yeah, the host with over 20 year experience in athletics isn’t bad either 😜. Natalie is talking the walk, and walking the talk. And, she’s doing it in sneakers that were “built for her”.

“Sneakers empower me because they’re another outlet for self-expression. I have a firm belief (thanks to my mother) that shoes make the outfit. When I know I’m being myself with my funky prints and looking *like a boss* and comfortable, I am in my element.”

Full disclosure, we LOVE the caption ⬆️ because it proves that “mama knows best”. And, we concur… Shoes do make the outfit. So, what should the OVERALL score for Nat’s outfit be? Haha, let us know in the comments!

Notice we said in the above paragraph (the transition line) that Natalie’s being empowered in sneakers “built for her”? Well, that wasn’t us being quirky… That’s Nike’s marketing slogan for a certain women’s exclusive: Nike Air Max Thea

In Documenting Determination we “ran” you through the history of the famed Nike Air Max line. In 1987, the sneaker world was revolutionized by the first visible air unit in a sneaker (not to mention comfort and enhanced athletic performance) and the birth of a ever-expanding technology that has produced some of the most iconic models and silhouettes the game has seen. That’s all fine and dandy… BUT in our not so modest opinion the Nike Air Max line surpassed iconic status and elevated to the strata of legendary in 2013. Nope, not because it was the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Air Max family. It’s because that “family” finally had a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and niece: Air Max Thea.

Such a nice feeling to reference a sneaker and not have to preface it by stating, WMNS. But, that’s enough history chatter… Let’s give you the “full (ac)count” as to why this Thea is a perfect metaphor for our slugger.

Sidenote: shoutout to Nike’s 2017 BEAUTIFUL X POWERFUL collection. Another great option for the Air Max Thea, and the other silhouettes.

cherry blossom pack
Photo Credit: The Sole Supplier

In the Spring of 2016, Nike dropped some “summer heat”. The “Cherry Blossom” collection… Now, that’s what you call art on sneakers. In an ode to Japanese culture and, specifically, celebrating the annual springtime observance of Sakura Cherry Blossom trees blooming this collection was produced. They sold out as quickly as the blossom petals “floated” in. But, not before Natalie got her pair of Theas… And it makes perfect sense for her. To us, the theme and inspiration for these sneakers coincide with Natalie’s journey as an athlete and as a journalist. In her Q&A above Natalie explained how her athletic challenges and conquests were perfect training for her life obstacles and endeavours. But this required intense training both physically and mentally to ensure she had the skill set and mental fortitude to thrive and flourish. In other words, Natalie’s abilities didn’t “blossom” overnight. On the contrary, she nourished her athletic “roots” and enjoyed the beauty of her “tree” in full bloom. On a lighter note, these sneakers are accurate because flower petals fly in the wind… Just like the ball after Natalie’s bat makes contact. There’s a park on the south side of Mississauga that knows that “popping” sound of slugger Stoberman’s bat all too well.


M-I-SS-I-SS-I-PP-I. How many of us learned, or attempted to learn, to spell the southern U.S. state using this rhythm and rhyme? Well, same rules apply for the wonderful city just west of Toronto: M-I-SS-I-SS-A-U-G-A. Yes, Mississauga is Toronto’s suburban neighbour. More importantly, it shares the same beautiful waterfront of Lake Ontario… And that’s exactly where you’ll find Lakefront Promenade Park. We asked Natalie to bring us to a field where she had memorable softball experiences and we got much more than we anticipated.

The City of Mississauga describes the park as: a project by the City of Mississauga and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, named after two of its most prominent features–a location at the water’s edge and leisure walkways. One of the largest waterfront developments in Ontario with more than 40 hectares (104 acres) of public parkland dedicated to outdoor recreation and the protection of wildlife habitat. Sailing, baseball/softball field, paths along the Waterfront trail, picnic areas, splash pads… Sounds like a great way to spend a summer’s day or night. Where you ask? 800 Lakefront Promenade, just south of Lakeshore Rd E. (not to be confused with Toronto’s Lakeshore Blvd, same street… different jurisdiction) and east of Cawthra road.

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The playing field of any sport is really the competitive grounds for the most important game, life. One thing that is absolutely inevitable is people will make mistakes. In baseball and softball they’re called errors…in basketball, turnovers… in track & field, false starts. What do you call them in life? Shortcomings, flaws, insecurities, doubts, disappointments, underachievement, accidents, failures?! We simply call it being mentally fatigued. As far as she.lace is concerned, you have to treat those moments like the Cherry Blossoms on the Air Max Theas… Let them float in the wind. In sports and life alike, sometimes you’ll encounter win-lose situations. Here’s a good example, it’s kind of like a fielder’s choice in baseball and softball. The fielder will get the lead runner out, but another runner will make it safely on base. It’s a metaphor for us to have the ability to live in the moment while having foresight for the future, and not being anchored in the past.

Natalie has given us the game plan to ensure we can be strong in MIND and body. It’s certainly a tough and demanding regimen to follow, but it leads to the most invigorating kind of victory. So, make sure you’re prepared for the one athletic competition that we’re all participants in. Once the game starts you have to be ready to show off your “Promenade Perspective”. Put your skills on public display and take pride in your view of life. After all, the game of life is one “W” you definitely want in your win column.

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