May 2022 AOTM: Amanda McGrew, Playoff Dating AppMay 02, 2022
Welcome back to TWN’s Athlete of the Month! Each month we are highlighting athletes in our network to share what they have accomplished outside of sports, their contribution to the athletic community and more. Make sure to check out our weekly newsletter to learn more about the athlete, what motivates them, and how to contribute to their cause.
Our May Athlete of the Month is Amanda McGrew - former Division I basketball player and Founder of Playoff Dating App!
Amanda’s basketball journey began in Santa Monica, California before she was given the opportunity to play at the University of Rhode Island. She finished up her collegiate career at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. After leaving basketball as a player, she became a PE and basketball coach. Amanda’s unique path as an athlete herself and her time working with other athletes inspired her to create the Playoff Dating App.
Playoff Dating App is for current and former college and professional athletes. Each athlete is verified and must prove that they were on a roster at the junior college, college, professional or Olympic level. Playoff aims to connect like minded people who have a major shared life experience of high level sports.
Amanda is a great supporter of Tackle What's Next. She was on Episode 26 of our Timeout with TWN series. In the episode, Amanda shared with us how she navigated her journey from basketball to becoming an entrepreneur, how she’s used her experience to create Playoff, and what advice she has for other athletes navigating through life after sports.
“One of the things I feel like is an asset to me is that I’m very well aware of the things I don’t know. I’m aware that I’m going to need people that are smarter than me around me, and I’m going to need their expertise and knowledge to get to any point in my level of success or wherever I want to be in my life.”
Here's our full interview with Amanda McGrew!
Why did you create Playoff Dating App?
I created Playoff Dating App to give current and former athletes an opportunity to meet other athletes outside of their immediate network and build lasting, meaningful relationships based on shared life experiences. There was something incredibly special to me about my athletic experience, so I knew I wanted to find a partner who shared that perspective and mindset. Seeing athletes find and build those relationships has been the most rewarding part of this process for me.
What did being an athlete teach you about the work you are doing now?
So much of my success and growth as an entrepreneur and a professional outside of sports can be attributed to many of the intangible things that I learned as an athlete. I would say one of the most important skills that I have been able to develop through my athletic career, and now into my professional life, is grit. The ability to get knocked down and get up, and keep going has proven to be something that is not that common.
Sports has always been a great equalizer. Nothing can make you feel the highest highs or the lowest lows, as your triumphs and disappointments you experience within high-level athletics, or really athletics from an early age. It’s an unbelievable lesson to learn how to be able to cope with those emotions while continuing to do your best to improve every single day. Showing up every day through difficult circumstances can be one of the most challenging things a person has to do. Sports taught me how to do that very well.
What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?
Sadly, I can’t say that I devoted much time to thinking about life after athletics while I was an athlete. One of the most important things that I was able to tap into once my athletic career was over was my personal network of resources. I didn’t know it at the time but I was building an incredible group of people around me. Based on those relationships, I realized I would be in good hands no matter what avenue I decide to take after sports. I realized very quickly how much people are willing to help and willing to share their resources with young people who are trying to make their way in this world. That personal network of mine continues to benefit me and pay great dividends even today.
When and how did you decide you were ready to make the transition out of sports?
Well this is probably the most difficult question to answer. I’m not sure I was ever ready to transition out of sports. Life just kind of forced it upon me and I had to deal with the emotional and mental aspect of no longer being considered a current athlete. I went right into teaching PE and coaching basketball after my basketball career ended, because I knew I couldn’t be very far from the game.
I am thrilled that I was able to teach and coach for 10 years and shaped the lives of many young athletes along the way. I would like to think that most of my mentorship came in the form of life skills as opposed to technical basketball skills. I like winning as much as the next person, but I knew there were more important things I could teach the student athletes than just wanting to win more than your competition. Being able to do that for 10 years is what truly made me feel satisfied and comfortable with officially leaving the game and no longer being around basketball on a daily basis.
What advice do you have for athletes around moving on from sports to their next chapter?
The first thing I would say is you are not alone. I know that probably sounds silly and cliché but it’s true. Thousands of athletes on many different levels are facing that exact same challenge at this very moment. That is also what excites me about the potential in Playoff to be able to collect athletes in a platonic, non-romantic way. To be able to form relationships with fellow athletes around friendship or business or any other endeavor can be so empowering. It can be like a form of therapy for many athletes who are facing the same struggles.
The second thing I would say is to talk to as many people as you possibly can, use your network, use your social skills to manifest relationships with the people you admire and respect. Ask questions about how they got their job. Ask if they have any advice for a newly transitioning current to former athlete. There is power in numbers and there are a whole lot of athletes in the world who are ready to support the people who came both before and after them.
Thank you Amanda for your incredible impact on the world of sports! It has been a pleasure to highlight Amanda throughout the month of May. Be sure to check out Playoff Dating App and support her work!