Sept. 17, 2003
Throughout her collegiate career with Purdue women's soccer, Annette Kent has had a lot to write about.
Her freshman year she exploded on offense, tallying seven goals, which tied for the team's best in 2000. The following year, she was the distinguished recipient of the Arthur Ashe Sports-Scholar Award. This past year, Kent was a Big Ten All-Tournament selection, as well as earning her second consecutive Academic All-Big Ten honor.
But while her performance so far in 2003 has the potential of being one of her bests, the 5-9 senior has taken on additional responsibilities for the Boilermakers. Not only is Kent busy leading Purdue on the field, she's also very busy writing about them off it.
Following a trend that was started by head coach Robert Klatte and Purdue's sports information department, Kent takes about a hour-and-a-half out of her schedule to write a weekly diary entry called Kent's Korner, which is featured on purduesports.com.
But this is no ordinary diary. Oh no, not at all. And don't get the impression that it's nothing but soccer either.
The content of the diary is mostly what occurs off the field with the women's soccer program in West Lafayette.
"It gives people an opportunity to see what our team is like off the field," says Kent, who is known more as "Netty" by both her teammates and visitors to the website. "I remember someone contacting me and pointing out that I don't include a lot of soccer in the diary. Exactly. That's the point. If you want to read about how we played, read the game story."
As sports information departments across the country begin to enhance their school's websites, special features such as player diaries have been becoming more popular. Most the time however, these diaries are for a special occasion, such as a school's first appearance in a NCAA tournament.
But Kent offers the feature to fans on a weekly basis, and has a blast doing it.
"Over the summer, coach asked me if I could do it, and I said I would," she recalls. "But it's become a little crazy, because of all the people that read it. I really enjoy doing it. For me, it's a lot of fun to do."
But the response that Kent has gotten from the diaries has been a little surprising. Often times, the majority of the readers are parents who find the entries an alternative way to keep up with their kids and their team at school.
Kent's entries have become so popular, that she offers a special e-mail address set up solely for the diary. Basically, she looks at the e-mails as a form of fan mail for her team.
"A lot of the people that send the questions or comments are people that I would have never guessed," she admits.
Along with personal friends and family members, Kent has even had a mother whose daughter plays on another Big Ten women's soccer team contact her through the diary's e-mail.
For the Evanston, Ill., native, the writing comes easy. Not only is it a great opportunity, and probably somewhat of a stress reliever as well, but it is another way for Kent to show others a little more about her.
"Yeah it does," she says referring to if her writing reflecting her personality. "I'm open to all kinds of people and certainly all kinds of experiences."
But when asked how she spends her time off the field and when she's not penning her thoughts on her fellow Boilers, she admits she's not the "typical person."
"I hang out with my teammates, but I could also go to Barnes & Nobles or Borders for an entire day and just hang out by myself."
And while she's there, she's most likely looking for the next book to recommend in her diary. Yep, we told you not to expect all soccer stuff.
There's never any telling what is going to be in her next entry, but she has seemed to become accustomed to listing a book and quote of the week.
In case you're wondering, Kent is a fan of White Oleander by Janet Fitch. As she writes in her fourth diary entry of 2003 though, it's a "Great book, but a horrible movie. In fact I might go out on a limb and say it was the worst movie adaptation that I have ever seen. So read. Don't rent it (you'll be a happier person trust me)."
She's a pretty reliable source too. Kent says that especially early in the season, she and other teammates would read a book a week.
"We thought listing a `book of the week' would be funny," says Kent, who is open to content suggestions from her teammates. "My roommate and I just got to thinking of some different things that we could put in the diary and that was one of them."
"Netty" and her roommate, sophomore forward Kim Comisar, confer on a lot of things. Just yesterday (September 15), they couldn't stop talking about the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) suspending operations immediately due to financial reasons.
Kent had dreams of playing in the WUSA, but notes that the end of this organization will not hamper her hopes of playing professionally some day.
"I'm not going to give up my dream of playing professionally just because of this," she says. "I want to see how far I can take my abilities and reach the highest level I can get to."
Currently, Kent is pleased with her team's progression, attributing a new formation on the field that has the Boilermakers strong on each side of the ball.
"Our new formation this year is a completely different look for us," she says. "We're starting to flow a lot better and I think this formation is more conducive to the level of play we can be successful at."
In fact, on September 14, the Boilermakers downed Evansville 8-0 in record-setting fashion, recording the school record for most goals ever in a single game. Kent was responsible for two scoring two of those eight goals, pushing her team-leading season total to five.
Needless to say, there will be a lot of coverage on Kent and the Purdue women's soccer team in 2003.
The question is, how much of it will Kent write, and how much of it will be written about her?