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Friday, November 30, 2012 Flames Focus: Natalie Barr

In my series on Liberty’s student athletes, we’ve looked at the stories of athletes from around the country, but this Flames Focus is about an athlete, who grew up across the Atlantic Ocean. Liberty field hockey player Natalie Barr grew up in Lurgan, Northern Ireland.

In fifth grade, Natalie began playing field hockey. At first, she didn’t enjoy the sport, but her teacher and parents encouraged her to keep playing. It’s a good thing they did, because Natalie had a bright future ahead of her.

As Natalie continued to play field hockey, she enjoyed bonding with her teammates and fell in love with her sport. She continued to train with her school but also joined her local field hockey club, the Lurgan Ladies.

Over time, Natalie fell in love with field hockey.

Natalie’s display of talent on the Lurgan Ladies eventually caught the attention of national teams. Natalie was selected to play for her province, Ulster, which is the equivalent of playing for Northern Ireland. She trained with players from around her country and enjoyed touring Europe to compete against different nations.

Natalie was also named to the Irish National team. According to LibertyFlames.com, she competed in four European Championships and played a crucial role in her team capturing a bronze medal for her age group in 2006.

Natalie (in red) competed against countries throughout Europe.

Natalie has excelled on the field, but she has also been actively involved in her late sister’s charity, Charlene’s Project. In 2008, Natalie’s entire family visited Uganda, and Natalie’s sister, Charlene, who was born with cystic fibrosis, was particularly moved by the immense poverty and lack of education she witnessed.

After returning from Uganda, Charlene’s health deteriorated dramatically.  She was forced to drop out of school, but she decided that, if she couldn’t go to school, she would devote her time to raising money for a school in Uganda.

Charlene’s Project was founded, and, in a matter of months, enough money was raised to build a school. Charlene was never able to see the school in completion, but she left a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

Last summer, Natalie and her family visited Uganda to officially open the school. “God totally blessed my sister’s vision, and we, as a family, have been able to see that vision in completion,” Natalie said.

Natalie spends time with children in Uganda. (Photo Courtesy of Liberty University)

Natalie has developed a heart for Uganda that, along with her involvement in Charlene’s Project, led her to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to one day teach children in Uganda on a full or part-time basis.

Natalie’s heart for Uganda was also an important factor in her decision to come to Liberty. When Natalie heard that Liberty’s Coach Murphy had a heart for Uganda and was planning on taking her team their next summer, she realized that Liberty was likely the place for her.

Natalie arrived at Liberty this semester and began a massive transition. She was met with more training and higher expectations in field hockey as well as challenging academics. Over time, Natalie learned how to balance her busy schedule, and she is enjoying her time at Liberty.

Natalie (middle) enjoys a Liberty football game with her friends.

According to LibertyFlames.com, Natalie played an important part in her team capturing the NorPac East title in its first year in the conference. Natalie has received several honors this season, and she posted more points and goals than any other Division I freshman in the nation.

Natalie (No. 19) celebrates her game-winning goal in the NorPac East title game. (Photo Courtesy of Liberty Athletics)

Natalie is from a small town in Northern Ireland, but she is having an impact around the world. Her involvement in Charlene’s Project is influencing the lives of children in Uganda, and her talent on the field is helping a college in America represent Christ in a big way. It’s great to have Natalie as a part of the Flames Nation!

Watch this video to learn more about Charlene's Project and see Natalie carry the Olympic torch!


 
Posted at 4:18 PM | Comments (0)