By: Shana Levine
Associate Athletic Director
My 4th summer here in Lexington just ended a few weeks ago. And the past 3 were spent driving/flying around the country going to see friends, family, weddings and, of course, friends’ weddings. The past 3 have also flown by at mock speed. This year my husband Clark and I attempted to slow down the summer and draw it out as long as possible by staying in Lexington and actually live here during the summer.
The plan to slow down the summer originated in the middle of spring term, approximately May 15th, when one of our VERY LOUD football coaches walked into the main athletic offices and made an announcement that came close to putting him in the hospital and me in jail for assault and battery. Let me tell you a bit about this week of spring term – I was teaching my 4-credit Women in Sport class (fun, yet exhausting) and my group fitness classes and was working on the two NCAA events we were hosting that week (women’s lacrosse and the first three rounds of men’s tennis). To say that I was stressed, tired and a bit irritable would have been a ridiculous understatement. So, it was in the middle of all of this that our football coach walked into the main office and shouted (in his best football coach voice), “LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO! GET READY! ONLY 90 DAYS UNTIL FOOTBALL PRESEASON STARTS!! GET READY – LET’S SEE SOME EXCITEMENT!!” So, I calmly got up from my chair, reminded said coach that we DO NOT start the “countdown to camp” before the lovely students have even left for the summer! I proceeded to calmly shut (or maybe slam) my office door and screamed in my office. Trust me; this was a better option than the alternatives running through my head. Don’t get me wrong – I love our student-athletes – but that was the wrong time for that comment. That evening I got home and told Clark, we need to make the summer last as long as possible.
We decided to see if staying in Lexington and enjoying the time here rather than traveling would make summer feel longer. So, what did we do in Lex this summer? Clark played a lot of golf…and is still pretty bad at it. I kayaked. We hiked a lot, which our dog loved. And did all of these things with friends, which made each activity even better. We had a great group of friends come down for 4th of July weekend and laughed more than I had in a long time. I also thought this would be a great time to try and plant my first attempt at a garden. Result? Fail. I managed to grow tons of zucchini and basil and exactly 3 tomatoes. My plan to make pasta sauce to last through the winter clearly did not come to fruition.
There were also a few reasons that we had to leave our lovely town – some we were thrilled about and some not-so-much and some in between. The first trip was a four-day family reunion down in Myrtle Beach. In June. Let’s just say it was a bit crowded. We do not have any kids, which seemed like an entrance requirement for anyone in Myrtle Beach AND for anyone at our family reunion. This was not a fun four days.
We did take two quick trips for pleasure and they were both a blast. The first was a quick road trip up to Washington, D.C. to see a soccer double-header: USMNT v. Jamaica and El Salvador v. Panama in the Gold Cup. Pretty amazing experience – it really felt like a Salvadorian home game. Then we went to Nashville to celebrate Willie’s 30th birthday. Willie and Clark met in college and have been friends since – Willie was the best man in our wedding and one of the funniest people I know. So, Willie in Nashville was well worth the trip. And I gained a bit more of an appreciation for country music…just a bit.
The final trip of the summer was one of the most memorable. As part of my “professional development,” I attended the DCAC fitness conference in DC the first week of August. This was as incredible and exhausting three days that lived up to all of my preconceived notions and stereotypes. There was clearly a run on spray-tan and brightly-colored spandex. There must also have been some sort of hidden caffeine-injection station that I could not find – the amount of energy that attendees had rivaled a cheerleading competition in Disney – if a date with Justin Bieber was the prize for first place. Basically we all attended fitness classes for three days straight, starting at 7am and going through 6pm. By the end of the conference I could no longer sit up on my own because my abs were so sore. Seriously; to get out of bed I had to roll onto my stomach and use my arms to push myself into a sitting position! Then I would head back to the conference center with 300 awake, spandex-ed, over-caffeinated people were ecstatic to be doing boot camp for a third time. Wow. I did learn a lot, but could not do anything with that knowledge for about 2 weeks since I could barely move.
So, I am not sure if it’s because we completely failed at remaining in Lexington and enjoying ourselves for the majority of the summer or if it’s because I am getting older which apparently causes days to blur together at warp speed or if it’s just because summer here is actually really short (students leave early June and come back August 12). But, all in all, operation extend-summer was a complete failure. A serious failure. A failure comparable to failures like laser-discs or New Coke or Boondock Saints II or the Arsenal 2011-12 season or the Steelers 7-turnover game against the Ravens or Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant or the XFL…well, you get the idea – it just didn’t work. If anyone has any ideas for us to try next year, please feel free to forward them along. The search for a longer summer will continue next year…
That being said, when August rolled around I found myself looking forward to the student-athletes coming back for preseason and getting the fall sport seasons underway. Preseason was capped off with an amazing first weekend of classes – so many home contests, Hall of Fame inductions and the celebration of 25 years of women’s soccer at W&L. What a weekend! So I guess it’s safe to say while the summer didn’t feel long, it was long enough…