From low self-esteem to NCAA and FIH field hockey umpire, certified trainer, and small business owner: meet Mary Driscoll

Having grown up in Hershey, a proud Trojan graduate, I was introduced to chocolate at a young age.

I was a competitive teenager, who participated in Districts and States in both swimming and field hockey. My youth wasn’t hard, and it wasn’t easy. Growing up as a PK, yep, I’m a preacher’s kid, gave me an interesting and unique outlook on life.  

Low self-esteem plagued me when I was in 8th grade. I was insecure about my “athletic build.” When I was 13, I hired a personal trainer. It was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself.

The trainer taught me how to build strength, eat healthy, and gain endurance.  She gave me knowledge and confidence to make gains and meet my goals. It felt powerful to know how to take care of myself. I knew what my body required to stay healthy and how to be a strong competitor on the pitch.

My ambition was to play Division I field hockey. I accomplished that when Penn State approached me to play as a Nittany Lion.

As life continued to unfold, I married my college sweetheart, and we started a family. Our family of five resides in Central Pennsylvania, where the scent of chocolate and competitive field hockey still converges.

I find that most of the benefits of physical activity are mental and emotional. Exercise remains my biggest stress reliever and favorite hobby.

Who knew that would include umpiring field hockey?

After I finished my college career, I became a top-ranked NCAA and FIH field hockey umpire. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

I became an umpire because I lost a bet (to my husband). I thought I knew “all the rules” from my playing days. The truth is I barely passed my initial PIAA test. I was humbled before I even began blowing my whistle. I knew I had a lot to learn about the game from a different perspective.

I was hooked after my first game. Umpiring elicits similar feelings of pressure and nervousness players feel prior to game time. The demand to stay in top physical condition is a challenging and fun motivator. I worked hard to earn some of my most, fondest memories on the pitch.

An Olympic qualifier final game and the 2021 NCAA National Championship game have been some of my top picks. It felt like a full circle playing in a National Championship game in 2002, and then having the opportunity to umpire 19 years later.  I also enjoy the many travels to the other side of the world to work with FIH colleagues and to umpire exceptional athletes.

As it turns out, my favorite hobby, it turned into my career. I have been a certified trainer for nearly 20 years. And, I have owned Mary’s Health and Fitness for eight years.

I literally started my grassroots business in the grass at a park. Growing it from the ground up, I’m happy to share that it’s expanding to a second location. The second facility, opening in 2023, is also going to be in Hershey.

One of my many passions is talking about injury prevention and teaching youth about overuse injuries. I encourage teenagers to especially find a balance in their lives. Youth are being pulled in too many directions. It’s my personal mission to educate both parents and athletes on the importance in sustaining a healthy body and lifestyle.

Injuries are inevitable, but I want to do as much prevention as possible to lower the risk of injuries such as the ACL tear. MH&F specializes in ACL prevention training and focuses on keeping clients healthy on the field and court.

Another passion of mine is giving people the tools to build their confidence and motivate them to change their lives with weight loss, strength gains, and overall lifestyle habit changes.

Empowering individuals to take ownership over their health and watching clients grow is what helps me get out of bed when my 4 a.m. alarm goes off each morning. Being a fitness studio owner can be a grueling lifestyle if you are not a morning person.

I happen to love the early mornings and the quiet meditation before the day begins. Taking that time for myself has become a top priority.

I can’t preach to clients daily about self-care unless I practice it myself. As my career has grown and my family schedule has become busier, I make time to care for my mental and physical health.

Hiking, cycling, and reading by my firepit are how I recharge and rejuvenate. Thanks for reading a little about me. I look forward to sharing with you my health and wellness insights.

Mary’s health and wellness column publishes every other Thursday.

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