A Smart Team & A Great Place For Kids

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By: Wendy Orrison
Head Field Hockey Coach

I have two threads of thought this morning.  First I want to take this opportunity to make a public shout out for the field hockey team.  Each year the National Field Hockey Coach’s Association honors collegiate field hockey teams with GPA’s above 3.0 and individuals who have maintained a GPA of 3.3. Washington and Lee was one of 95 teams to produce the needed team grade-point average and our cumulative GPA of 3.47 was tied with Swarthmore College and Richard Stockton College for the second-highest team GPA in all of Division III; furthermore there were 16 individuals who earned the 3.3 or better.  The second-highest GPA in the nation (among DIII) isn’t that impressive?  I dug a little deeper to see how Richard Stockton and Swarthmore did this past season they went 4-14 and 5-13 respectively compared to our record of 10-7.   I feel so fortunate to be able to work with these incredibly smart and hard working young women.  We are in the midst of our non-traditional season right now.  We have one week left to go and it has been a fantastic off season.  The players are on-time and committed, they are serious about improving their game of field hockey, as well as their fitness.  I wasn’t sure how it would go – having the off-season during winter term – but it has been fine.  I know that the women have a lot of outside commitments, as well as their school work, but they have never complained, at least not to my face, and I have been truly impressed with their work ethic.  It is really no surprise to me that this group of women produced a combined GPA of 3.47 because they have the determination and grit to earn it.

The other point I want to make this morning is along the same lines … a continuation of why I love working here.  There was a huge track and field event here this weekend. About 12 schools were here in Lexington to compete in the W&L carnival.  On Friday, Kris Hoey sponsored a 50M run for children ages 2-5, and I signed up Nellie. Carlisle took part in a mile run that was also for community runners. That group ended up being mostly middle-schoolers, 9-13 year olds.  Anyway it was faculty and staff children that ran the 50 M; about 6 kids showed up and then 5 actually ran.  One boy decided to be the official starter instead of running.  Nellie (my 4 year old) and her friend Chase (Kris’s 4 year old) ran a good hard race but did a U- turn about 5 feet short of the end line to go back the other way.  Carlisle (my 7 year old) started the mile but decided to quit because he realized he was going to be last.  We had some long talks about that, trust me.  The coach’s kid quitting-yikes!  What’s the old saying about water and horses?  Anyway, all of this background information is just a lead up to my main point.  Many folks there at the meet wandered over to cheer on the 6 little kids and then folks were cheering all the way around the track for the mile run.  When Carlisle quit a young woman from another university offered to run with Carlisle so that he wouldn’t quit.  Jan, the AD and Eddie, our do everything guy, were both near Carlisle when he started to walk and they both tried to encourage him to keep going.  No one was critical of him (except his parents) and many were cheering him on and her encouraging him to finish.

A college campus is just a great place for kids.  So many of the student’s know my children and even when they don’t, I find them supportive and polite.  The staff at W&L is always extremely helpful and kind to my kids:  cheering them on in this setting, allowing them to play in the training room with old rolls of tape, letting them ride on the Gator, but always saying hello and making them feel important and welcome.  Smart and nice, two pretty important attributes, in my opinion.

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