Archive for November, 2009

A Great Day to be a General

November 23, 2009

By: Austin Calhoun ’03
Guest Blogger

My senior year at W&L, I think it is fair to say, I lived in the Warner Center. You could find me in the weight room, in the training room, missing (practicing?) layups in Doremus, or distracting the sports information staff. Even at lunchtime or during a break in classes, I’d be sitting on the concrete steps by the loading dock soaking up some spring term sunshine.

Fast forward a few years later, after a year of working in sports information at University of Delaware and getting my master’s at University of Miami (FL), I returned to Lexington and not much changed – at least in terms of my time spent in and around the gym. As an assistant SID, again, I think it is fair to say I lived at the Warner Center. And at Watt Field. And at Cap’n Dick Smith Field. And in the third seat on the right side of an Abbott Trailways bus heading to an ODAC school.

Now, I live 1,129 miles from the Warner Center, getting my PhD in sport sociology at the University of Minnesota. Despite being so far away, a huge piece of my heart lives on the corner of Washington and Nelson. Being a part of the Washington and Lee athletic department family as a player and a staff member remains one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and it is hard for me to be so far away from a place that holds so many memories.

On days when it is hard, when it is negative 10 degrees here in MN, when I actually miss running wind sprints and writing game notes, all I have to do is reach into my closet, pull on a blue issued sweatshirt (sorry, Eddie, I couldn’t help myself!) or a Generals’ Basketball shirt. Just the simple act of wearing royal blue or seeing the trident makes me feel a little closer to Lexington and my W&L family.

I know I am not the only alum or former staff member who feels this way. There are tons of us, who live far, far from the Shenandoah Valley, who also bleed blue and have fond memories of their time in Lexington. I think in many ways that is what is so special about the W&L experience. Whether you were lucky enough to coach, play or work here, you know that it’s (every day is!) a great day to be a General.

So what do you do now?

November 19, 2009

By: Wendy Orrison
Head Field Hockey Coach

“So, what do you do now?”

This is the most often asked question of me this time of year so I thought I would go ahead and make a “public” answer.

Meetings are what I have the most of these days.  I have the field hockey players fill out a self-evaluation form which also evaluates the season as a whole.   I then meet with each young lady to discuss their evaluations.   There are team meetings as well, we collect uniforms, announce season-ending awards and plan out any future meetings.    Then we have our league’s year end coach’s meeting.   Here at Washington and Lee we have season-ending reviews (meeting) with our athletic director as well.

I am fortunate enough to serve on two committees: An All-American committee and the National Field Hockey Committee.  Therefore, I have had conference calls pertaining to those committees and the year-end selections that come with them.  The National committee takes up a lot of time actually.  As a member of that committee, I go to NCAA championship games and serve as an NCAA representative.  Our main role is to be sure that there is neutrality observed at the site.  I’m also an objective by-stander who can theoretically make neutral decisions.  I was a site representative at Lynchburg and then up at Messiah and this week  I go to Mt. Holyoke for the finals.  Massachusetts in November…not sure I like the direction of my plane.

Recruiting continues to be a large part of my daily activity: answering e-mails, making calls, watching videos, etc.  With application time looming, we try to get players to apply and/or try to get players to apply early decision.  Teaching continues throughout the semester too.  Here at W&L, all of the head coaches teach Physical Education classes.   Self assessment and assessment of the season can occur at this point as well.  Because sports are season, I get the chance to re-watch game film and watch others play in an effort to better prepare myself and my team for the next season.  There aren’t many jobs where we get to wipe the slate clean and start over; I enjoy that aspect of the job.  Lastly we all have second duties here at W&L.  I will be assisting the equestrian team for the first time this year.  Every head coach helps with game management of other sports (I help with women’s lacrosse).

Somehow my days manage to fill up, even feel more full than when in–season.  I do know that I’m looking forward to Monday and Thanksgiving week.  I also look forward to dinners with my family and Saturdays at my home.  So there you have it, a very brief overview of what I do now….

Remembering Chris Coffland ’88

November 18, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

I suppose you could say that I have written about this a lot recently, but there are moments in life that serve to give you pause – to ponder the things that we take for granted every day.  I wrote an entry a few weeks back about how in the hustle and bustle of every day life, it was the view of the mountains on a beautiful day that served to snap me out of my daily routine.

Last week many across America celebrated Veterans Day to remember all those who have fought for our freedoms.  More than celebrate, I chose to think about the people I have known who have served in the military.  Nothing brought this more to mind than watching the movie Taking Chance on HBO that evening.  It follows a single fallen marine from his death on the battlefield to his home in Wyoming for burial.  Quite a powerful movie and one that makes you consider how much respect our military members deserve for their sacrifices.

On Friday, the Washington and Lee Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organized a care package event in Doremus Gym.  As part of the Americans helping Americans organization, W&L’s student-athletes prepared care packages for nearly 500 soldiers who are part of the Blackhawk Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Afghanistan.  Folks from across the Lexington and campus communities donated items for the packages and members of the SAAC raised money to ship the packages to our troops.  To learn more about this event, you can read the story prepared by W&L senior women’s soccer player Maggie Sutherland that ran in the NCAA News last week.

Chris Coffland '88

The combination of Veterans Day and the care packages served to remind me that our military is still protecting our freedoms every day, but it was another event that served to give me pause.  It was learning of the death of former W&L football and lacrosse player Chris Coffland ’88 in Afghanistan on Friday that hit home.

As members of the W&L community were packaging items to send to Afghanistan, one of our own gave the ultimate sacrifice.  The timing of this tragedy can not be lost on any of us.

Chris’ story is well profiled in an article published in the Baltimore Sun and also through the W&L News Office Blog.  Through speaking with his former coaches, it is apparent that Chris was a special person and one who was not out of character when he enlisted for the Army Reserve shortly before the age cutoff of 42 years.

Former W&L assistant football and lacrosse coach and athletic director Chuck O’Connell recruited Chris from his native Baltimore and tells the tale of a serious and goal-oriented young man who was tough as they come.

“He was a dedicated, team-first player,” said O’Connell.  “He was absolutely a throwback type of athlete and would do anything that you asked of him.  He was a guy that the offense and defense both fought over because you knew that he would help either unit.  He wasn’t a superstar, but you knew he would not let up.”

Current W&L baseball coach Jeff Stickley used to coach the offense for the football team and also shared his memories.

“He was so tough,” noted Stickley.  “He once played with a broken hand.  We were meeting as a staff about the next week’s game and we knew he was hurt.  Chris had stopped by the office and we asked if he would be okay to play.  Chris responded by knocking his (broken) hand off the doorstop and said ‘don’t you worry’.  He was a different cat, but a really good guy and teammate. It didn’t surprise me at all when I heard that he enlisted so that someone with a family would not have to fight — he wanted to take their place.”

Coffland played 30 games with the lacrosse team, collecting 19 ground balls and scoring one goal.  On the football field, he was a captain and played in 27 games and totaled 828 yards and six touchdowns combined rushing and receiving.  However, those that remember Chris most would tell you that the numbers never mattered.

“I would say that Chris always struck me as a young man that was on a quest to find the meaning of life,” stated O’Connell.  “Isn’t it simply ironic that once he finally found that meaning it cost him his life?”

The funeral service for Chris will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 11 a.m. in Baltimore’s Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (5200 N Charles Street) followed by a reception at Gilman School (5407 Roland Avenue). Visitation will be on Friday, Nov. 20, from 12 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W Padonia Road in Timonium, MD. The family is establishing a memorial fund at Gilman School and has asked that donations be made there in lieu of flowers.

Sharing Pride

November 17, 2009

By: Jan Hathorn
Athletic Director

“Come cheer for Washington and Lee…”.  So goes the first line of the W&L Swing, our University’s fight song.  And this past Friday and Saturday the W&L community did just that, cheered on the Generals, in a big way.

On Friday, many of you came to Doremus Gymnasium to help the SAAC and SAMs fill boxes to send to our troops in Afghanistan.  We had a fantastic turnout from our students, faculty, and staff, as well as many in our community.  Thanks to Rolf Piranian, Brooke Diamond, the W&L SAAC and SAMs, Eddie Irvine and his crew, Carolyne Mayo, Emily Nicely and to all the many businesses who donated items to help us put the care packages together. It was a great example of the sense of community we share on our campus and a tribute to the heart of that community.  Many thanks to all who attended, for your presence was a way of cheering on our student-athletes efforts to reach out and serve the greater community beyond this campus and the city of Lexington.

On Saturday, our women’s soccer team played host to the first- and second-round matches of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship tournament and their first-round match vs. Christopher Newport was well attended.  To my knowledge, approximately 400 spectators paid admission to the contest, and when you factor in all the student workers and event support staff, it’s safe to say the crowd was nearly 425 strong.  What a fantastic atmosphere for the team and our school.  Many thanks to Shana Levine, Dan Roland, Mike Mayo, Jon Irish, Charlie Updike, Tommy Mays, Baner, Debbie Brown, Eddie Irvine, Carolyne Mayo, the women’s field hockey team, Campus Security, Mike Ginder, the Sports Information Office, the Athletic Trainers.  (If I have inadvertently left off your name, in either instance, please know we are grateful to you for your help).  Another shining example of the beauty of teamwork and support.

And to the fans: thank you for cheering on our teams, your friends and your peers. Your cheering really does make a difference – a difference that is hard to quantify but that every athlete can tell you is meaningful and appreciated. On their behalf, I want you to know how grateful we are of your support and are hopeful you’ll continue to “Come cheer for Washington and Lee…”.

Changing Seasons

November 13, 2009

By: Josh Williamson
Head Athletic Trainer

Whew…we have made it through the fall sport season! Well, almost.  We still have women’s soccer competing , but we have survived our busiest time of year as athletic trainers.

It can get a little hectic for a while trying to balance the fall sports teams and the winter sports teams when they overlap and then we throw in the non-traditional season practices for the spring sports as well…which adds to the chaos.  But all the chaos and craziness keeps us so busy that, before we know it, the fall sports season has ended and we are in the midst of the winter sports season.

It’s funny how I crave each portion of the year.  I’ve noticed that with the renewing from the lighter schedule of the summer that I can’t wait to dive in head first into the busy schedule of the fall.  By the time the fall is closing out, I’m ready for that lighter season again…then we get a little busier in the spring again with the spring sports and the non-traditional season practices for the fall sports.  But the ebb and flow of the seasons are a great thing.

The seasons renew us because they are ever changing which keeps us from becoming stagnant.   And this time of the year reminds me to be thankful for that ebb and flow.  It’s what keeps me vibrant keeps me from becoming stale.

Women’s Basketball Memories

November 12, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

So it’s blog time again.  I write every Thursday and it seems like the weeks are just flying by these days.

Today I’m going to look back at my most memorable women’s basketball moments.  I’m going to use the term memorable instead of favorite because there is at least one moment I am going to write about that I wouldn’t classify as a favorite moment, but it was certainly unforgettable.  So, without further ado…

Feb. 7, 2001
On this date, W&L defeated Eastern Mennonite by a score of 80-69.  Seems innocuous enough and I actually wasn’t in the gym for this one.  I was on the road with the men’s basketball team, who lost to Greensboro College by a score of 60-52.  About the time Head Coach Jeff Lafave was being ejected from the men’s game and in the middle of Brendan Harrington’s call of the ejection on the radio, I received a call from assistant SID Scott McGuinness informing me of the extraordinary events taking place in the Warner Center.  Turns out that news was better than the ejection in our game.  Brendan didn’t appreciate me interrupting him on the air but I had to let him know that EMU’s Emily Mullet had gone off for 58 points.  That would be 58 of EMU’s 69 points as a team.  She was 20-of-37 from the floor and 10-of-24 from three-point range in posting what I believe was the second-highest point total in Division III history.  The even crazier aspect of the game was that Jessica Mentz set the W&L record for points in a game with 37 points and 11 rebounds.  Talk about being overshadowed, poor Megan Babst had a meager 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in the winning effort.  The boxscore of this game still hangs on my office corkboard.

Jan. 29, 2005
This one ranks up there with one of the most horrible things I have ever seen.  W&L had been playing women’s basketball since 1993 and 11 years later had still not recorded its first ever victory over Roanoke College.  I maintain that on this day, W&L did beat Roanoke if not for the zebras.  There were a lot of hard feelings after this one and I wish I still had the audio of Jeremy’s call of this game because it was priceless (as was his bid to join the Olympics in the chair-tossing event).  Regardless, the Generals lost by a score of 47-46.  W&L led 46-45 with only seconds remaining and the Maroons were forced to throw up a desperation shot as time expired.  The buzzer sounded as the ball hit high off the glass and bounded to the other side of the lane.  There was a small battle underneath the basket for a potential rebound, but the clock had expired and frankly the ball came off the glass way too hard for anyone to corral it.  As I witness Louisa Feve about to celebrate I was told by the Roanoke scorebook keeper that there was a foul called.  I thought impossible, but true enough, the officials called a loose-ball foul and called it on a player who was standing at the free throw line, well away from any of the action.  Following a discussion, a Roanoke player stepped to the free throw line with no time remaining and drained both tosses for the win.  To add to the insult, Brendan was doing the PA and couldn’t help himself but to make a comment about the officiating while promoting the men’s game that would follow.  So, now I had to drag Brendan to the Roanoke locker room for an apology, which had to occur in the hallway in front of the entire team because the Maroons were somehow locked out of their locker room.  Just a nightmare of a game.

Nov. 29-30, 2005
W&L fell to Bridgewater by a score of 70-47, which by itself was not that memorable.  However, this was the night the lights went out.  The game began on Nov. 29 and finished on Nov. 30.  At some point in the game, perhaps late in the first half (don’t really remember), the Generals had shot a three-pointer, which swished through the hoop.  No one actually saw it happen for sure since power was lost to half of Lexington at that very moment and the gym went completely black.  After waiting for some time for the power to come back, it was decided that the game would be finished the following evening.  Obviously the Eagles had no trouble finishing things off, but it was just another strange moment that I’ll probably never experience again.

Jan. 28, 2006
The Generals finally got that first win over Roanoke, defeating the Maroons, 78-70, in Salem, Va.  It was a back-and-forth game for much of the second half until Bethany Ridenhour sealed it by hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute.  Jessica Hunsinger also made it a personally significant game, eclipsing the 1,000-point barrier and scoring 21 points.

Feb, 23, 2007
The Generals knocked off third-seeded Eastern Mennonite in the ODAC Tournament. W&L did not score in the opening seven minutes of the game, but recovered with a 15-0 run and pulled away for their first ODAC Tournament win since 1998-99.  Hayley James led the Generals with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Bonus:
On Feb. 11, 2003 the Generals suffered a 55-48 loss to Emory & Henry.  This was actually senior day for captains Austin Calhoun and Elizabeth Igo.  For more than a year leading up to that day, Austin had been suggesting to the sports information staff what she would like to be said about her for senior day.  Of course we did not oblige, but years after the fact and after reliving this with Ms. Igo just last weekend, here it is.

Senior Day Script for Austin Calhoun
Austin joined the team as a junior … and she was okay.

It might be almost six years later, but congrats on finally receiving your wish Austin!

College Athlete – The Definition

November 11, 2009

By: Joel Shinofield
Head Men’s Swimming Coach

Any number of words, phrases and monikers come to define us as we go through life, but for a select few of us one of those phrases will be intercollegiate athlete.  I don’t know Ted Mullin.  I know Ted’s coach at Carleton College, Andy Clark.  One of my former swimmers on the Richfield Swim Club, John Floberg, went on to become Ted’s teammate at Carleton.  Two of our swimmers here at W&L, Tess Hayden and Charlie Gentles, swam at New Trier high school where Ted swam in his home town of Winnetka, IL.  I know that Ted loved being a collegiate swimmer right until the end of his battle with cancer.  In the words of Andy Clark:

Ted was the ultimate friend and teammate at Carleton, who led by example and always gave nothing less than what he was capable of, making the most of each moment he had,” Carleton head swimming and diving coach Andy Clark said. “His strong sense of loyalty toward his team, teammates and friends never ebbed, regardless of how he was feeling. He was always giving of himself. We will miss him tremendously.”

I also know that Ted has inspired hundreds of swimming coaches to do something that almost no one short of an athletic director, a college president, the NCAA or an act of God is capable of doing and that is getting us to change our training plans.  Today, like hundreds of other coaches, Kami and I changed our practice plans to have our teams participate in the Hour of Power to honor Ted, raise awareness about Sarcoma and raise money for cancer fighting research at the University of Chicago.  Like many coaches we hopped in to swim with our swimmers, cheered them on, video taped the event and generally enjoyed a great hour with our team.  Sometimes as athletes and coaches we get so caught up in goals of victories, NCAA qualifying times and records that we forget the most important aspects of that definition of intercollegiate athlete: team, fun, family, support, connection, camaraderie and unity.

Thank you Ted for reminding us all what is truly important in college sports. It is an honor to share a few personally defining phrases with you, swimmer and intercollegiate athlete.

If you would like to learn more about the Hour of Power and possible even donate to the cause, please go to:

http://apps.carleton.edu/athletics/varsity_sports/mens_swimming_and_diving/hour_of_power_relay/

On the Road Again…Recruiting Never Ends

November 7, 2009

By: Gene McCabe
Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Coaching and recruiting go hand in hand.  For most coaches recruiting has become a year round, never ending endeavor. In fact, this is most of what we do as coaches. We realize recruiting is the lifeblood of our program. It is also extremely competitive. We know if we are not constantly recruiting someone else is, and there is fierce competition for the best players. This is particularly magnified when you consider that the top academic schools in the country are all trying to attract the top student-athletes in the country. This is a small pool of student-athletes and they are not always easy to find.

Today I am about to embark on a trip to Maryland. Over the next three weekends I will travel up and down the east coast watching some of the nation’s best junior lacrosse players compete in fall tournaments. My staff is also on the road. In fact, we are on the road recruiting somewhere every weekend in November. In our sport, the two heavy recruiting periods requiring on the road travel are the month of November and the summer months of June and July. It should be pointed out that each sport has their own specific times of the year when the bulk of their recruiting events take place.

While recruiting is competitive, the coaching world is both communal and fraternal in nature. We are like a flock of birds who travel to the same spots every year depending on the season because that is where the food is. I know when I arrive at South River High School in Annapolis tomorrow morning there will be 60-100 coaches there. When I arrive at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, MD the next day, many of the same coaches I saw the day before I will see again. Many of these coaches I know well and consider close friends. We joke amongst each other that we are part time “recruiting gypsies”. In this aspect, it is great to get out there and catch up with colleagues who I have not seen for a while.

Most of it is mental work though. Picture a line of coaches extending 110 yards long facing a lacrosse field. All of us bundled up because it is only about 45 degrees (sometimes a lot colder). Each one of us is sitting in our folding lawn chair, pen in hand with our notebook on our lap, peering out of our sunglasses for 6-8 hours at a time. Our job is to sit, and watch, and evaluate. We have rosters and we take notes on guys we thoughts played well.

We do this over and over and over. We log 1000’s of miles on the road. The following is a summary of where my staff traveled last year: Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois (Chicago), New York (Syracuse and Long Island),Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Colorado, and California (3 times).

Over the course of our travel my staff will easily see 6000 high school students play lacrosse. These players will come from all 50 states and some will come from Canada. Ultimately, we will end up with about 10-12 accepted students we recruited. Each sport has their own target numbers but I would bet the numbers of players watched is always much higher than numbers of players yielded in every sport.

When we are not traveling to evaluate we are back in the office where the work required in recruiting does not stop. To get those 10-12 top players who love Washington and Lee for all the right reasons we must establish communication very early. When we get back home we contact the players we liked by e-mail, phone or snail mail. We ask for academic information and filter out the kids we think have the academic profile necessary for admission to W&L. For the students who are in the ball park we begin the process of introducing them to W&L. We encourage them to visit, we talk to them on the phone and we continually send them information by e-mail or snail mail. We are basically building a relationship with these players and their families.

It is expected that other schools do the same thing. We know the guys we are contacting are getting a lot of attention from other schools as well. Other sports have slightly different timelines but our hope is to have a list of 25-30 top prospects by the time September rolls around. From there we hope to have approximately 15 of them visit our campus for an official visit in the fall and we hope 10-12 of them decide W&L is their top choice by early November.

Just in time for us to get back on the road again!

Top Men’s Hoops Moments

November 5, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Hard to believe, but basketball season begins next Sunday, November 15 and today is women’s basketball media day in Salem.  The fall season will no doubt provide us with some more exciting moments, but today I’m looking ahead to the winter season and, in particular, basketball.

Below I’m going to revisit some of my favorite men’s basketball moments from the past 11 seasons.  Basketball is an interesting study in frustration and excitement.  There have been far more lows than highs over the years, but that just serves to make the highs than much better.  So, here are just a few of my highlights for the men’s basketball program since 1998.

Jan. 12, 2000
W&L defeated Lynchburg by a score of 96-92 in four overtimes.  A seemingly normal (or boring depending on how you wanted to look at it) game got crazy exciting when Chad Braley got hot from beyond the arc, drilling four second half three’s to help the Generals recover from a 10-point halftime deficit.  Regulation ended in a 60-60 tie, but the two teams combined to score 68 points over the 20 extra minutes and many in dramatic fashion.  Dennis Brown was unstoppable for the Hornets, scoring 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but is remembered for missing a breakaway layup at the end of one of the overtimes that would have claimed victory for LC.  As it would end up, Brian Ricketts was the hero with the craziest boxscore line ever: 27 points, 21 rebounds and six blocked shots in 58 minutes played!  That’s 58 of the 60 minutes.  Almost 1 ½ games.  This should have been a foreshadowing as Ricketts now competes in ultra-marathons, which require running 50 miles or more.  Sadly, Brown, the game’s other stud, was murdered in Lynchburg just a few years later.

Feb. 19, 2000
The Generals won just six conference games but it was enough to secure the sixth seed for the ODAC Tournament where W&L knocked off third-seeded Bridgewater, 55-50.  The Generals controlled the pace of play and were a perfect 19-of-19 from the free throw line in pulling the upset for their first tournament win since 1989-90.  The next night W&L nearly pulled another shocker before falling to Roanoke, 66-60.  I just remember how much that Bridgewater win meant to the guys on that team.

Nov. 16, 2001
The Generals competed in a tournament co-hosted by Haverford and Swarthmore the weekend of Nov. 17-18, defeating the Fords and falling to Swarthmore.  This had nothing to do with the games and everything to do with my mistake.  After seeing the Generals go a combined 19-55 (.257) over my first three years and while making this trip to the season-opening tournament with Mike Walsh (AD) and Brendan Harrington (Radio), I asked Mike whether he thought the Generals would ever finish a season with a .500 record ever again.  BIG MISTAKE, especially in a car with nowhere to go but to take the backlash.  The question would be answered six seasons later in 2008 when W&L finally finished with that elusive winning record.

Jan. 23, 2002
W&L fell on the road at Emory & Henry by a score of 76-75.  The memorable part of this game had nothing to do with who won or lost, but the remarkable game played by sophomore forward Hamill Jones.  Jones, who averaged just 5.2 points per game for the season, had the game of his life that evening.  He was 15-of-16 from the floor in scoring a career-high 32 points.  His 93.8 shooting percentage remains the best shooting percentage in school history.

Dec. 1, 2007
W&L finally had done it.  There were a lot of losing streaks that needed to end, but by far the longest was the streak to Randolph-Macon.  Heading into Dec. 1, 2007, the Generals had lost to the Yellow Jackets 43-straight times dating back to 1977.  There were some close losses and some blowouts for sure as the years passed, but the streak finally ended that day.  The Generals opened a 40-28 lead at halftime and I found myself getting giddy about the fact that I might actually see a win over R-MC.  As the second half wore on, you could see the game slowly slipping away.  R-MC had a pair of layup attempts at the end to try to tie it, but neither were true and the game went to overtime.  This is where the game really became interesting for me.  This game was part of a double-header with the women’s team and I usually order pizza for the crew because they typically miss a meal when working double-headers.  Of course the pizza delivery man showed up during the overtime and I had to slip out of the gym to sign for the pizzas.  “I’ll be back shortly” I exclaimed to my crew as I walked out the gym, but little did I know the credit card did not go through from when I placed the order and they made me speak to the Papa John’s rep to straighten things out.  The moment had finally arrived when I might actually see W&L knock off R-MC and I wasn’t even in the gym.  As the final seconds were counting down in overtime, I handed the phone to the pizza guy and walked back into the gym just in time to see Greg Bienemann make the winning layup with two seconds remaining.  I didn’t miss it after all and Papa Johns even realized that the card did swipe correctly and all was good.  Unforgettable.

2008-09 Season
Recently, the Generals have had a string of exciting moments.  There have been some epic games with old rival Roanoke and some other streaks ended like beating Hampden-Sydney.  However, nothing compares with the team’s run to the ODAC title game last season.  The double-overtime win over Guilford in the quarterfinals was truly a special game.  The win over Bridgewater in the semifinals was very sweet on a personally significant day for me.  The loss to Virginia Wesleyan in the finals was another exciting affair.  In the end, it almost didn’t matter that the Generals fell five points shy of the conference title.  It mattered that they mattered.  For so long, there were painful losses and hard feelings about the state of the program.  The 2008-09 Generals making the finals made it all worth it.  Hey, it was for them, but it was for the rest of us too.  The players that came before them that never got to taste success.  Guys like Brian Ricketts, Scott Hudson, Chad Braley, Will Ballard, Scott Hettermann, Hamil Jones, Chris Halkitis, etc.  Greg Bienemann, Alex White and Femi Kusimo weren’t in uniform that week, but they were in the stands and shared in the excitement the same way the rest of us did.  It was truly a special moment.

Life Lessons

November 3, 2009

By: Jan Hathorn
Athletic Director

As I get older, I often find myself thinking about what’s really important in life.  Life is full of unexpected twists and turns that create positive and negative experiences for us all. And those twists and turns can teach us a great deal, if we let them.  I believe, regardless of the situation, something can be learned from any experience.  As a friend of mine says, “You don’t live a day you don’t learn something” and as life would have it, she’s right.

Many people have written books, articles, columns, stories and memoirs about the lessons they have learned; the lessons life has taught them.  One of my favorite columns ever written is by Regina Brett, who is now 90 years old and was a journalist for The Plain Dealer  in Cleveland, Ohio.  Her most-requested column is one she wrote to celebrate growing older, called, “The 45 Lessons Life Taught Me”.  For those of you who are in your latter years of life, and even those of you who aren’t, I commend the entire list to you as I’m certain some, if not many, of the lessons she has learned will resonate with you.

For brevity’s sake, here are a dozen of the lessons she’s learned that are my favorites and that I call upon more and more as the days go on.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

3. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry, God doesn’t blink.

4. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

5. Believe in miracles.

6. Your job won’t take care of you when you’re sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

7. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

8. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

9. Life isn’t tied in a bow, but it’s still a gift.

10. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

11. Yield.

12. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  No one else does.