Moyer Demonstrates the Value of Athletics
Former Olympian went on to success as a psychology professor
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” The stadium shook with cheers and applause as Diane Moyer made her way toward the bright lights at the end of the tunnel to the hockey field. Her years of hard work and dedication had all led to this moment: she and her teammates were just minutes and 10 penalty shots from taking home a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics.
In the 28 years since that memorable event, Diane Moyer, Ph.D. has shifted her focus and become a psychology professor at Cedar Crest College—but she owes a good measure of her professional success to her sports background, she says. “Being an athlete teaches perseverance, teamwork, commitment and perhaps most important, the ability to learn from failure. It’s about getting up and figuring out how to go forward. You need to not be afraid of failing, because otherwise you don’t have the ability to see what your best is.”
When Moyer was a young girl, opportunities were limited for women to participate in sports. In fact, her first brush with athletics came when her older brother allowed her to play basketball with him and his friends. It wasn’t until high school that Moyer first played on a team—and play she did, participating in swimming, diving, softball, basketball and field hockey. “It didn’t matter what it was, I just wanted to play,” she says.
Her obvious athletic ability took her to LaSalle University on a basketball scholarship. Moyer was among the first women to receive any sort of athletic scholarship, an opportunity made possible then by the recent passing of Title IX. She was able to balance her studies with playing on the college’s basketball, swimming and diving, and field hockey teams, and her talent didn’t go unnoticed. Her field hockey coach recommended she try out for the United States field hockey team—and she made it after just one year of college.
Moyer traveled around the world on the national team, playing in Holland, Germany, England, Australia and Japan, among other countries. She made the 1980 Olympic field hockey team, but didn’t compete due to the United States’ decision to boycott the Olympics that year. Four years later, Moyer found herself on the team again. This time, she did compete and left with a bronze medal.
Moyer went on to coach field hockey at Villanova and Yale universities. She earned her B.A. in psychology from LaSalle University, her M.A. in sports management from UMass, an M.A. in counseling psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Temple University.
Cedar Crest is an appropriate place for this scholar/ sportswoman: the College’s athletic program is a strong one, and student athletes are notable for the academic success they maintain. Forty-seven students in a variety of sports were named to the 2010/2011 Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) All-Academic Team for having a GPA over 3.2 in the fall semester. Eight of the field hockey players were named to CSAC’s National Academic Squad for having a GPA over 3.3. Moyer is not alone in her opinion that athletics have such positive effects on young women. According to a study by the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls who participate in sports have higher self-confidence and are more likely to get good grades and graduate. The study also showed that 80 percent of female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as having played sports in their youth.
What’s the most important life lesson Moyer has learned from her years in sports and psychology? “Follow your heart, find your passion and don’t be afraid to fail,” she says. It’s a lesson she continues to pass on to her students.