Aisha Jorge Massengill ’88 grew up in Bronx, N.Y., washing car windows and working other jobs in her free time to make enough money to see a game at Yankee Stadium. She credits these early formative experiences for her competitive spirit, love for the thrill of victory, and ability to put in the hard work necessary to achieve her goals.
Massengill brought her strong work ethic to Andover, where she proved herself to be a powerful member of the girls volleyball, basketball, and softball teams. She was the first Andover athlete to ever earn 12 varsity letters in four years. After her time at Andover, Massengill went on to play Division I softball at Boston College. In 2008, Massengill was inducted into the Andover Athletic Hall of Honor. She now works as a Senior Counsel for Employment for Under Armour.
Massengill noted that although she did not face personal adversity as a female athlete, it took time for girls’ sports in general to gain comparable respect and resources to those of boys teams at Andover. Massengill said the school had not put in the work to develop a strong softball team until Coach Peter Drench was hired in 1986, an action that had a lasting impact on the program.
Massengill said, “The one thing that I would point out is that the commitment to women’s athletics at Andover has been an evolving thing. The softball team, when I was a Junior, was taught by someone who had never coached before, and my Lower year it was taught by a grad assistant who didn’t know what she was doing and wasn’t competent. It was kind of like ‘[Oh,] girls softball, we’ll just throw somebody over there to coach them.’ ”
“It wasn’t until Coach Peter Drench came and really put some real focus on building a competitive team, making us play the public high schools from the area and getting beat up a little bit, that you could really see the difference… I think in my time you probably didn’t see the same level of attention and commitment to the girls athletic teams in terms of bringing in the kinds of coaches that should be coaching,” said Massengill.
Coach Drench said, “Aisha Jorge was a multi-talented three-sport athlete who thoroughly enjoyed competing, a joy we shared. She gave our softball team a prouder, stronger mentality. Aisha wanted to be the best player she could be and, as her coach, I wanted nothing more than to help her get there. I valued her strong personality then, and cherish our long-time friendship now.”
Massengill said one of her proudest moments at Andover was being elected captain of the volleyball team.
Massengill said, “When I came to Andover, I had never played competitive volleyball in my life. In my Upper year, I was voted captain of the volleyball team for my Senior year… Certainly on the volleyball team there were more talented people, but there wasn’t anybody who outworked me, there wasn’t anybody who out-hustled me, and I was a very good leader that people liked to follow… What you realize when you grow up is that you may not always get the fancy titles, but people still follow the leaders, and you realize that people look to you,” said Massengill.
In addition to harnessing leadership abilities, Massengill believes that one of the most lasting benefits of being an athlete is the ability to compete.
“You may not win every race, and it sounds like a cliché, but when you give it [everything] that you have, and you’re always competing to be the best that you can be, there is great satisfaction in that. I think that is something you develop as an athlete because sometimes competing can be a business of failure… There are going to be times when you are unsuccessful. How you rebound from that lack of success and go after identifying what went wrong and what can be better, that’s something you do every day in business… And that’s something you work through all the time as an athlete.” said Massengill.