The sum of hard work, field hockey and math: Amanda Crider

A+headshot+of+Amanda+Crider.

Hannah Seiken

When I first went up to Amanda Crider to ask if I could profile her, her reaction was, “Really?! Me? Aww, Yay! I feel so special!”

Many people see Amanda Crider as the bubbly math teacher and coach that is passionate and enthusiastic about that everything she does. Her students know her as the teacher with the creative lessons, and her field hockey players know her as the determined coach with an obsession with John Wooden quotes.

“Everything about Coach Crider’s positive attitude while we’re running and playing helps motivate us, and it’s also encouraging because she was a college player and she knows the game really well,” sophomore Alex Biggs said. Biggs has been involved in Crider’s field hockey program since her eighth grade year in 2014.

Crider and her player bump butts on the turf.
Crider and senior goaltender Hannah Hiscott do their signature handshake before a game. (Photo Courtesy of Amanda Crider)

“She’s a very motivational and energetic person both out on the field and in the classroom,” freshman Lucie Thenhaus agreed.

Not only does Crider’s spunk and friendliness help her stand out, but her work ethic and dedication also helped to get her to where she is today. She grew up in Northern Virginia, and went to school just a mile away at George C. Marshall High School. She told me that Marshall was a lot like Mason, in that it is also small and has a supportive community.

“At Marshall [High School] I played field hockey, swam and played tennis,” Crider explained to me of her youth athletics. “Growing up I played about everything.”

Her athletic career did not end in high school, though. She played Division 1 field hockey at the University of Virginia, and credits her success to hard work and character. One of her favorite quotes, “ability gets you to the top, but character keeps you there,” is often heard before a mile run at field hockey preseason, as it sums up a big part of Crider’s beliefs.

“You can’t just want to play [your sport], you have to really try. You have to be willing to put in the work when no one is looking. It’s really hard to get the mentality of doing your best when your coach pushes you, or getting a personal trainer, but it takes even more than that. It takes getting up early and doing sprints on your own. It really just has to be your passion,” she said.

Crider largely credits her mother for this mindset, who she considers her role model.

She is always putting others above herself, and that is something I need to grow in,” Crider said of her mom.

Not only does Crider believe that challenging oneself constantly is a key to success, but she also thinks that having a team that has your back contributes.

“My favorite part about being on the [University of Virginia] team was the way I was pushed,” Crider said. “There were some girls on the team who were really outstanding, and it helped me grow mentally and physically to be the best I could be, and that’s absolutely invaluable.” The value of “us” and working together is so important.”

A group selfie.
Crider smiles for a picture with her college field hockey teammates at a recent reunion (Photo Courtesy of Amanda Crider)

Being a student athlete definitely takes time and work, but in the end Crider considers it worth it, and an amazing and unique opportunity at that.

“It’s just a wonderful experience. People are worried that it’ll ruin their college experience, but it doesn’t,” Crider said with a smile. “I went and I had a great group of friends.”

Some of Crider’s favorite memories are from her time playing college field hockey, including when her team made it to the Final Four. Being able to be a part of the UVA program was “incredible,” and also humbling.

“In my past, I was so proud of playing Division 1 hockey, and it is still a very large part of me, but as I grow I am realizing your impact on others is greater than personal accomplishments,” Crider said.

Crider was a student athlete and loved it, and goes out of her way to make sure everyone else does too, by offering to hold one on one sessions, and always pushing her athletes and students to do their best.

“Most people don’t get to play sports when they’re an adult, so take advantage now. Play as long as you can,” she said.

A lot of people go into college not quite sure what career they would like to pursue, but when she began college, she already knew she wanted to teach.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Crider explained to me when I asked her how she got into teaching. [At UVA] I did not get into an education program initially from undergrad so I chose to study Anthropology and Biology, and was offered a job as an animal trainer out of college. Long story short, I didn’t take that job and took the field hockey coaching position here.”

From there, she became a substitute teacher in the Falls Church City Public School System, and, while it has been a challenge at times, Crider has loved every minute of it.

“[In order to become a teacher] I received some advice from colleagues, reapplied and got accepted to the UVA master’s program for education. I started taking my masters classes to get my license while I was working.”

Now, Crider is a math teacher and field hockey coach at George Mason High School, and could not be happier.

“It was hard work,” she said. “But I am so incredibly blessed to be here!”

Whether she’s teaching or coaching, Amanda Crider does everything with a smile and positive attitude.