She Serves

How Sports Remained Constant In This Coast Guard’s Life

Emilee White

Different career paths come with different working environments. Some working environments include a typical 9-5 desk job. Other working environments include flexible hours, work-at-home options, and work at a quicker pace. For Laura Higby, a fast-paced working environment was what sang to her most, which was why she decided to join the United States Coast Guard.

I didn’t want to have a regular desk job,” Higby said. “I wanted to be active, and the Coast Guard, just the idea of being active every day, was really tempting. Before I even graduated college, I already decided I wanted to join the Coast Guard.”

Higby’s drive for a fast environment goes all the way back to high school. A triple-sport athlete in soccer, basketball, and track and field, Higby graduated high school and committed to playing soccer at Gonzaga. Her time on a Division I program was a blast for Higby, especially when she got to play against other high-level programs in the WCC Conference.

Laura Higby
“You learn a lot about yourself when you go to college as a student-athlete because a lot of time goes into sports,” Higby said. “During training camp, it was three days starting at like six in the morning, made up of conditioning, weight room, another practice midday, and then another practice in the evening. And we were doing that before anyone even got to campus. So it was definitely an experience, but I had such a good time.

After graduating in 2010, Higby joined the U.S Coast Guard. Higby explained that Coast Guard servicepeople, and military servicepeople, are subject to moving around the country, or the world. So wherever she gets sent is where Higby goes, no questions asked.

Moving around, and at a higher volume, can be hard on anyone, and it’s hard to establish a sense of “home” when you can be moved to a new city, state, or country at any moment. That’s why Higby started playing basketball; it was just one of those sports that can be played anytime and anywhere. That’s how Higby ended up in the New York City Pride Basketball League, New York’s first basketball league that was available for the LGBTQ+ community.

“[Basketball] is a common denominator,” Higby said. “It’s the same wherever you go. I was really excited [to join the league] because it wasn’t just a basketball league, it was a career basketball league. I joined right away and formed a community in New York, which is really nice.”

Photo credits: Laura Higby