To some people, Lauga Gauta is known just as a University of Utah volleyball player. To her teammates and coaches, she is known as LG. For Gauta herself, she is the choir director of a team that loves to sing. Her passion for singing, which she shares with her teammates, started with her family and nine siblings.
“We’re like a choir family, basically,” Gauta said. “My dad is a piano player. My mom is a singer. Growing up it was just singing in the church. I listen to Beyoncé all the time, so I just got into music and ever since then I’ve been singing.”
Head coach Beth Launiere knows how important it is to have someone like Gauta on the team; her personality brings a fresh perspective to things.
“LG has a very, very kind heart, and she just loves to sing and dance,” Launiere said. “She keeps things light for us. The team is having fun, and she’s a big part of just the culture of our team and keeping it fun. When you’re in the grind and you have someone who wants to dance all the time, it doesn’t hurt.”
Music is therapy for the junior college transfer out of Northwest College in Wyoming. When she isn’t playing volleyball, she turns to music to help her express her thoughts and feelings.
“Lyrics are written by other people, but it’s so perfectly scripted when you can’t really find the words,” Gauta said. “I just love everything about it.”
While everyone learns lessons in different ways, for Gauta it was gospel music which taught her how to stay grounded in all that she does, on and off the court.
“It took me awhile to get used to [gospel music] because at my church we don’t sing gospel music,” Gauta said. “My freshman year and sophomore year I listened to that and all kinds of slow R&B to get mellowed out because I’m really wild and I needed to have a balance.”
That balance has affected Gauta’s mentality; she always makes sure she is prepared to compete when her name is called. She has also found that she can keep positive energy flowing through her because she knows the importance of keeping the right mindset, especially when sitting on the bench instead of playing on the court.
Music has been the answer for Gauta to manage life and athletics as a college student. When her volleyball playing days come to an end, she hopes to be able to use her voice to share positive messages. For now, she wants people to realize that she is more than an athlete — she has other talents and interests that excite her.
“I feel like a lot of people just need to get to know us as people before we’re athletes, so they understand that we, too, are people,” Gauta said. “We aren’t getting special treatment, we’re working as hard as everyone else out there.”