Archive for September, 2010

Random Thoughts and Comments

September 30, 2010

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

So here it is the end of September and we now have a full month of the 2010-11 school year under our belts and we’ve gone through the entire rotation of bloggers here on the Sidelines Blog.  Starting with my blog today, we’ll be having our second go-round featuring more solid content from Nate, Jan, Adam Kelly, Bryan, Rachel, Megan and Shana.  I hope you have enjoyed all their contributions throughout September, I know I have.

I’ve been considering what I should write about in this column and I haven’t been able to nail down just one thing.  So, I’m going to give you a little bit of everything on my mind at the moment.

Few things give me more joy that eliminating the last month's worth of notes and numbers.

First, I think I wrote about this last year, but I have far too much joy in tearing off the last month of my desk calendar at the beginning of every new month.  Truthfully I may enjoy this even more than receiving my monthly paycheck – probably because these days you don’t really get to cash a check and feel the money – you just receive a statement on your e-mail saying it was deposited.  Tearing the calendar sheet is like having a clean start on the first of every month.  All those scribblings and chicken scratches just get washed away.  It’s very gratifying.  I’m thinking I’m not the only one who likes this and I may have to ask this very question in the Deadspin Funbag.

Second, I wanted to reiterate what Shana wrote in her entry on Tuesday, how nice it was to see Karin Treese Bauer go into the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame.  I was at W&L for just one of Treese’s four seasons at W&L, but it seemed like more since she was a dual-sport athlete.  She is the first athlete that I actually watched play on the fields of W&L to go into the hall.  It instills a sense of pride, but also much like was the case with Shana, it serves notice to just how old I am becoming.  Not sure if it was the 10-year waiting period required for consideration of induction or the fact that so many of the athletes I remember now have families – or the fact that I just realized I am twice the age of the first-years!

Sporting some Spartan green before the Notre Dame game.

Another random thought involved some e-mails between myself and Lynchburg SID Mike Carpenter.  Mike and I go way back as we went to college together and he was the best man at my wedding.  Mike’s wife went to Virginia Tech and Mike has been supportive of her love for the Hokies, attending some games and occasionally posting encouraging messages about Virginia Tech on facebook.  Given my extreme hatred for anything Virginia Tech football related (and most all Hokie fans), I decided to respond to one of his posts calling him a sellout.  This came back to haunt me when I decided to attend the Michigan State-Notre Dame football game on September 18.  You might remember this as the game where MSU won on a fake field goal in overtime, the play that nearly killed their coach with a heart attack.  Well, this game occurred during W&L’s football bye week and nobody loves the Spartans more than my wife, a 2000 Michigan State graduate.  I pulled some strings to get tickets to the game and to make it up to her for missing so many Saturdays working the W&L games, we drove the 20 hours roundtrip to East Lansing.  Of course I picked up some MSU gear and full-heartedly pulled for the Spartans in one of the most exciting games I’ve seen since the Generals’ fake-spike game in 2002.

Proof that I will root for the Nittany Lions when they play the Spartans. The 2008 game in Happy Valley was a good day for me and not such a great day for my wife and her family (all MSU alums)

Well, once the pictures of the trip went on facebook, Mr. Carpenter had a few things to say about my sellout comments. Oops. Never really thought about it that way and I convinced myself that it’s okay to support my wife’s team as long as it’s not playing my team.  In fact, I remain a Penn State fan and have rooted for the Nittany Lions with the same amount of vigor against MSU as I did when the Spartans took down the much-hated Irish.  I consider pulling for the Spartans in every game not involving Penn State to be okay and naturally I don’t consider myself a sellout because PSU is unequivocally still my favorite team.  Mike once was an Alabama fan, but now I question whether that is still the case.  Even with the Crimson Tide winning the National Title last season, a public statement of support for his team was lacking — but his support of the Hokies has not.  Does that suggest he is a sellout or just supporting his wife and her alma mater the same way I have supported mine?  Ahhh. The things that I think about when not writing about the Generals…

Until next month, go Spartans and more importantly, go Lions!!!


Memory Lane

September 28, 2010

By: Shana Levine
Associate Athletic Director

Hall of Fame weekend in Lex Vegas this past weekend – always a great event.  This Hall of Fame weekend was made particularly special because one of my former soccer teammates, “Treese”, aka Karin Treese Bauer, was one of the athletes inducted.  Seeing Treese inducted and hearing her speech elicited two very different reactions from me

(1) how cool is it that I know, love and played with someone that is now being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

(2) holy cats, I feel old.

Let’s talk about the first point, which elicited a more positive reaction.

Just a little proof that Levine did play with Treese and how fast time flies by. Simply click on the photo to enlarge.

It is very cool to think that I had the opportunity to play with someone with Hall of Fame talent.  And Treese was truly incredible – both as an athlete and as a person.  From an athletic standpoint, she did not have had the most-talented supporting cast of players around her, yet she is still the current record-holder for most career goals and points.  And she played in 10 fewer games than most of the women behind her in the record books.  It’s amazing when you really think about it.  Oh, and by the way, she was also a rock star on the basketball and lacrosse teams.

What really set Treese apart, however, was her ability to make everyone on the field/court better.  That is an intrinsic quality that makes such a difference on a team.  She was never upset that we were not on the same page (or, sometimes, even in the same book) as she was on the soccer field, but instead, was always supportive and looking to bring her teammates along with her.  I think it was her ability to make everyone on the field better that made me feel very lucky to play with her.  Oh, and also because she was a fellow Steelers and Penguins fan.  I am sure that helped as well.

Okay, now onto the second and more depressing reaction.  Following the realization that it is amazing to see one of my teammates inducted into the Hall of Fame was the realization that I am old enough to have played with someone in the Hall of Fame.  This second realization really hit home during my men’s league soccer game on Sunday.  Yes, I said men’s league.  There is no competitive women’s league nearby, so men’s league is the only option.  Just go with it.  However, as I spend my time chasing around 25ish-year-old male, the men’s league only accentuates the feeling of getting older.  Let’s be honest, I have never been as fast as a 25-year-old male, but it is getting exponentially worse each year.  So, while I may be early in my 30’s – I feel much, much older during and after these soccer games.

Turning 30 didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.  I think this was due to my excellent ability to rationalize just about anything.  I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t feel old. In fact, 30 isn’t that old because just a few (insert appropriate length of time – days/weeks/months) ago I was 29 and 29 really isn’t old, right?”  Well, that thinking doesn’t really work when the appropriate length of time is over 2 years and rising.  Ugh.  Well, I guess the only option is to focus on all the amazing things I have gotten to do so far (like play soccer with a Hall of Famer!) and look forward to more exciting times to come.

Congrats, Treese.  It was a privilege to play with you for 2 seasons and a pleasure to know you.  You are the best and deserve the all recognition that comes your way.

Past, Present and Future

September 24, 2010

By: Megan Moore
Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach

They say it takes at least two years as a college coach to decide if it’s the career you’re destined to tackle. They say your second year at a given institution reveals the parts you love, and hate, about the job.  I say that it’s the former of that last statement that makes all the difference.

I was a non-believer. I was nearly convinced that coaching was only in my immediate future, that future being a year’s length, when I arrived at W&L as the Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach last August. I was having a hard time coping with hanging up my English degree instead of my stick post-college and my love of the game had been glazed over by a tough first year out as a part-time assistant. It was logic more than love that led me to Lexington.

Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach Megan Moore is another first-year blogger for the Sidelines Blog.

Last fall term was a haziness of reorganizing my cube, trying to remember the difference between an 11 and a 12 fund and agonizing over teaching racquetball to unenthused 18-22 year olds. And that was just on campus. There was also the two hours a day spent on Alumni Field learning how to stand on my own two feet as an assistant coach. It’s surprising how intimidating a large group of young women can be, especially some of the brightest and most driven in the country.

Fall Ball came and went and somewhere in between remembering their nicknames and hoping they didn’t all leave practice thinking “what the hell was Megan talking about,” our team made me start to remember exactly what I loved about lacrosse. The competitive fight for loose balls, the excitement of the perfect fast-break, the foundation for working towards something greater than ourselves. I began to realize how envious I was of our players for still having at least a season left to achieve that something and tried to instill in them how not to take it for granted.

January 25th snuck up as all pre-seasons do and my nervousness from the fall still lingered. I had felt good about Fall Ball but that had been just a trial run compared to the season ahead. This was the real deal. Brooke had graciously given me the reigns on our attack and I worried about finding our offense’s rhythm and how I’d harmonize with it.  I know defense wins championships, but you’ve got to score goals to win games. I thought about the upcoming season in my sleep and we hadn’t even gotten through the snow-capped month of February yet. Some were nightmares, others were strange dreams about blizzards and 6AM practices or busses breaking down on the side of 81 (wait…).  Regardless, I grasped that all this anxiety actually meant something.

Once games started and we proved that we could, in fact, score goals, I started to feel more at ease. With the slowing down of the anxiety came the speeding up of each passing practice and game. Our team was well on its way to achieving the goals they set out for themselves without even fully realizing it. Watching the final seconds of the ODAC Championship tick away on Watt Field was surreal. Had we actually done the thing we spent eight whole months talking about doing?  Maybe I wouldn’t be spending just one year here after all…

I took a month’s hiatus from Lexington and spent August on family vacation and at home in Maryland. Once August 28th hit I found myself throwing everything in my car, eager to get back to W&L. Since moving down here I’d always been sad to leave home on return trips; now I couldn’t wait to head south. I was excited for the return of our team to campus, to meet the new faces of the athletic department and to see the once unfamiliar ones that now felt like family. Yes, it’s as cheesy as it sounds. And I hate cheesiness.

I still agonize over racquetball and can’t always get the 11 and the 12 funds straight, but despite those misgivings I feel incredibly at home on this campus. I’m afraid I’d get scolded by them if I repeated it every time, so whether silently or out loud, I will list being a part of this place in the thankful circles that our team does before games. I’ve caught myself more than a few times telling the new additions to our department just how awesome a place W&L is to work. I’m not one to say things I don’t mean.

The most apparent thing I’ve learned in this past year is just how quickly a year passes. I look forward to the upcoming season but am happy to be exactly where we are in Fall Ball right now. I look back on the sillyness of some of my worries last year, but know full well that no season comes without its fair share of anxiety. I welcome that anxiety because it’s a product of the thing we love about what we do.

Alumni Update

September 24, 2010

In today’s W&L University blog, Jeff Hanna recognizes former W&L basketball captain Hamill Jones ’04, who was featured in a story in the Richmond BizSense this week.  Jones has started a new business based on pick-up basketball games.

Generational Connections

September 21, 2010

By: Rachel Buck
Sports Information Assistant

When you get a phone call from your grandma at an early hour of the day, thoughts usually jump to the worst-case scenario. However, I received one of those calls this weekend, and it turned out to be a great thing.

Saturday morning my grandma Krause called me at 8:30 a.m. (note: she is in Wisconsin so it was 7:30 a.m. there) to see if I watched the Milwaukee Brewers game last night because Randy Wolf pitched a complete-game shutout. I had to break it to her that I didn’t watch the game, but I did receive updates as it was happening. She talked a little longer about how he struggled in the seventh inning and she didn’t know if he’d make it, then went on to tell me to read the game recap and give her a call back. But she made sure to warn me to call before the game started that night because she wanted to watch the great pitching match-up (it was Gallardo and Lincecum).

After I hung up the phone and had a little laugh, I really started to think…is that where my love of sports comes from? My dad is a sports fan but he’s not fanatical. It’s safe to say that in my home growing up my mom and I had more interest in how our teams were doing than my dad and brother. But even at that point, my mom wasn’t a super-follower of sports…she knew the players, but not the details.

So if it didn’t come from my parents, I drew a new conclusion…maybe my grandmothers are a driving force behind my passion.

Grandma and Grandpa Krause at Miller Park in 2006

It’s absolutely funny to me that it is my grandmothers, not my grandfathers, that love sports, but this is a very true statement. Sure, my grandpa Krause loved watching the Brewers every night and looked forward to me getting him a Brewers media guide to read while watching the games, but it was my grandmother who made sure that both of them were finished eating each night in time to watch the games. It’s not only that, but she KNOWS the players (sometimes better than me) and she is 88 years old! She’ll call me and ask where a certain player is because she doesn’t see him in the bullpen, she’ll question why someone’s bat isn’t doing as well as it should, she even gets upset watching the game when a pitcher implodes *cough, Dave Bush, cough*. And even though the Brewers basically wrapped up their season mid-August she still watches the games in September with the same fervor as she did in April.

And my g-ma Buck is also a huge Brewers and sports fan. While g-ma K always had a game on television, g-ma B gave me the love of listening to sports on the radio. Living on the farm in the country, we didn’t have access to cable television and satellite dishes (for most of my youth) were still those ginormous things that looked like you were trying to communicate with aliens in a far-away galaxy, so we never had one. Her (and my) love for the Brewers came from listening to Bob Uecker on the radio.

Now, I love Uke…ask anyone who knows me. The three months he was gone this season recovering from heart surgery were the three emptiest baseball months of my life…I’ve never known Brewers baseball without him. I have access to MLB.TV online, so when I watch Brewers games I’ll have the video on but mute the television commentators and put on Uke. It may be a couple seconds behind, but his delivery and stories are what make the listening great. People can quote his lines from “Major League” all day, but you really haven’t experienced Uke until you’ve listened to him do Brewers games.

But I digress…I have fond memories of growing up, going to the farm to do chores, and when everything was done I would head into the farmhouse to say hi to grandma and see if she had baked anything new that day (she is an AMAZING baker). And if it was a summer night, odds are the game was on and I would sit at the kitchen table with her, listening and discussing the game. Now, she has finally upgraded from the four-channel bunny-ear television system to a satellite dish and HD television so she can watch games, but occasionally you can still walk into the house, sit at the kitchen table and listen to a Brewers game with her. She travels to Milwaukee at least twice a year to attend a game, and just like g-ma K, she also loves the Packers and other big Sconnie sports (which raises another question…how did I come to follow the Bears?!).

My mom thinks this passion skipped a generation, just like the love of jewelry and knick-knacks missed her and went to me. I don’t know if we’ll ever solve the mystery, but one thing is for sure: I love my grandmothers, Eleanor and Ruth, and love that they share a passion for sports with me.

Through the Years

September 17, 2010

Bryan Snyder is another newcomer to the Sidelines blog this year. He is in his 11th season as volleyball coach in 2010.

By: Bryan Snyder
Assistant Athletic Director/Head Volleyball Coach

When I was first asked to be a contributor for this blog, I was hesitant, and thought to myself “what am I going to write about?” and “who is going to want to hear my opinions anyway?”  However, I declined to write for the blog last year, and after reading what others wrote, I figured it was my turn and I might as well give it a try.  I am not a procrastinator by nature, but I really struggled to come up with a topic for my first entry, so I kept putting this off.  Well, my entry is set to be posted tomorrow, and I am now up against a deadline, so here goes!

I finally narrowed my topic choices down to two finalists – one that seemed appropriate, and one that was more of a rant (more on that one later!)  After careful consideration, I chose the more mainstream topic of a look back at my time at Washington and Lee.  I first set foot on the W&L campus on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving break in 1990 (Nov. 16 to be exact – isn’t the internet great!) as a senior in high school who was considering attending Washington and Lee.  I was absolutely captivated by the scenery, the campus environment, and the friendliness that everyone exhibited.  Nearly 20 years later, I still feel the same way every time I am on campus, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to come here every day and make a contribution to this great University.

In the 19-plus years that I have been associated with the University, first as a student, then as an athletic department intern, and finally as an athletic administrator, coach and faculty member, I have witnessed many changes in the University and the local community, but the scenery is still beautiful, the campus community is still strong and engaging, and the friendly nature of the students, faculty and staff is still abundant.  Many of the changes over the years have been strictly of a physical nature: the commons, the parking garage, the sorority houses, Wilson Hall, the Science Center, renovations to Reid Hall, Newcomb Hall and Leyburn library, Watt Field, New Cap’n Dick Smith Field, the new Wilson Stadium, W&L Turf Field, and my personal favorite, the new floor in the Warner Center (come on, I am the volleyball coach after all!).  Other changes have been more programmatic, such as the new spring term, winter rush, the creation of minors, the reduction in the number of total credits required to graduate, and the change in the class block schedule (which seems to still be in flux).  Still other changes are more subtle and many times hard to quantify, and I am beginning to feel that they are not necessarily changes in Washington and Lee, but rather changes in my own perspective as I grow older and spend more time here.  I always attempt to look at every decision the University makes through the eyes of the students by thinking back to how I would have felt when I was a 20-year old student here, but that seems to be getting harder and harder to do each year.

The new Warner Center Court

Washington and Lee has been an extremely important part of my life for the past two decades, and I am hoping that the next two decades (or more?) will be just as great!!

Now, for that rant I mentioned in the opening:  I think the new enforcement of “late hits” along the sideline in college and professional football has gotten out of hand and alters the competitiveness of the game.  I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and I watch many sports with an eye on statistics and geometry (volleyball is full of both!).  Defenders are taught at a very early age to take the “proper angle” to cut off a ball carrier or force them out of bounds.  The determination of that proper angle is also dependent upon the velocity of both the defender and the ball carrier, which is typically at or near top speed.  The defender tries to get to that spot on the sidelines at the same time as the ball carrier.  There is no way the defender can be expected to run full speed and then just stop when they reach the sideline if the ball carrier has stepped one foot on the line.  I have seen several calls made this year (and I don’t get to watch as much football as most people due to the fact that we play every Saturday and I need to use Sundays to prepare for the upcoming weeks) where the ball carrier just barely gets to the sideline, the defender, who is coming at full speed, slows down, but still makes contact, and is whistled for a personal foul.  Eventually, offensive players are going to start timing this play to “draw the personal foul” in a similar fashion to how a basketball player will use a pump fake and then jump into a defender to create contact and a potential three-point play.  This is FOOTBALL after all, and hitting is part of the game!

I guess writing about both topics is a little bit of a cop out, and I doubt anyone really cares about or agrees with my opinion on the late hits, but at least I found a couple of things to write about.  Now I can start thinking about my next entry and hopefully not wait until the last day to write it.

Lex Vegas Meets Rocky Top

September 14, 2010

Kelly Mathis joined the Generals this summer and will be a regular contributor to the Sidelines blog this year

By: Kelly Mathis
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach

Since, I am new to the athletic family at W&L; I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a little about myself.  Many reading probably know that I am the new Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach.  I moved to Lexington from Maryville, Tennessee, about 20 minutes south of “Orange and White Country”, Knoxville, Tennessee (GO VOLS).  I graduated in 2009 from Pfeiffer University, a small Division II school near Charlotte, North Carolina.  My time spent after graduation, consisted of moving back to Maryville, working as an intern for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and March of Dimes, serving as the Business Manager for a small athletic/personal performance training company, and assisting the varsity’s girls’ basketball team at Knoxville Catholic High School.

Athletics has always been a big component in my life since I was very young. Growing up, I have fond memories of my dad and mom, toting my sister and me around to basketball gyms, football fields and baseball fields, due to my father’s position as “the referee” or “the umpire”.   Let’s just say we weren’t the most popular kids or family in the gym or at the field.  However, we always liked to make the most of it by making fun of my dad after games by letting him know what he was called that night- most popular would names would be “dog breath”, “zebra”, etc.  Due to spending most of the time at athletic events, my sister and I became very involved in participating in soccer and basketball.  I started playing basketball and soccer at a young age and have never really stopped.  Yes, I still try to play even today.  However, my athletic career seemed to be more of a challenge to stay on the court/field.

My first challenge came to me when I was in the eighth grade, I tore my left ACL.  At that age, it really didn’t faze me when the orthopedic told my mom and I that I “had torn my ACL”.  However, I found out through the next 4-6 months, why many say ACL tears are the cause of many athletes ending their careers.  The next challenge came 3 days before my 1 year anniversary of tearing my 1st ACL, I tore my right ACL!  The hardest part was just lying on the basketball court knowing I had torn it and thinking how my days are going to be filled once again with rehabilitation. The months of rehab went by fast and I was back to full-participation within 4 months. The rest of my high school career was smooth sailing.   I accomplished a lot and was fortunate to receive an academic and athletic scholarship to play at Pfeiffer University.  However, the injuries didn’t end.  My sophomore year at Pfeiffer, I had a “scar tissue” scope, I re-tore my left ACL my junior year, and my senior year I tried to play through a meniscus tear but had surgery shortly after the season was over.

Even though my athletic career consisted more of trying to stay healthy than actually playing, I learned a lot about myself and that “‘life challenges aren’t suppose to paralyze you, they are supposed to help you discover who you are’ ”.  Sitting on the bench, seemed to be a role I was put in a lot, and when I was healthy, sitting on the bench was rare.  I hold my injuries responsible for pushing me onto the path, I am walking down today. Over the years, I have been upset that injuries didn’t go my way but I looked at the positive outcome; I was fortunate to experience more as a student-athlete, I was able to observe both the coaching side and the playing side of athletics.

I am extremely grateful that I have been given the opportunity to join the family here.  Coach King and I have been busy preparing for a back-to-back ODAC Championship Season, back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, and another season to mark down in the history books at W&L.  We welcome you to walk down our road to repeat, and join our team’s journey by kicking off the season with our first home game on Saturday, November 20 against Christopher Newport. So, mark your calendars and we will see you there!!

Children and Basketball

September 10, 2010

Head Men's Basketball Coach Adam Hutchinson is a new addition to the sidelines blog this season

By: Adam Hutchinson
Head Men’s Basketball Coach

I have a tendency to apply whatever topic I’m thinking about to the two things that most dominate my time:  my children and basketball.  Perhaps this habit is left over from my days as a student at a liberal arts college, where I learned to make connections between classes in seemingly disparate disciplines.   Perhaps it’s a pattern of thought I developed previously, which then led me to choose to attend a liberal arts college, which would then force me to make connections between seemingly disparate disciplines.  Whatever it’s origin, this application of thoughts and questions from one subject onto another almost always produces interesting and unexpected new thoughts and questions, but only sometimes produces conclusions. Some people may call this allowing my mind to wander, or even day dreaming.  I call it thinking things through.

Lately, I have been thinking about cycles.

Prior to the birth of our first child, my wife and I enthusiastically attended LaMaze classes to learn about having a baby, from the signs that labor is beginning, to making sure you have a car seat at the hospital so you can drive the baby home.  Ok, to be accurate, my wife was enthusiastic, and I attended, but we make a great team, and before we knew it, we were pulling into our driveway with a 3rd member of our family.  It was at this point that we realized what we hadn’t learned: WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WHEN WE GOT THE BABY HOME.

All was quiet at casa de Hutchinson for about a week, and then Baby Jason started telling us, quite loudly and insistently, exactly what we were supposed to be doing.  In not so many words “Feed me, change my diaper, rock me, I have gas and you will make it go away now” became our orders.  Ok no words were used, but the boy effectively communicated his demands.  As we settled into this new routine Erin and I talked about the day when Baby Jason could actually talk.  Then he could communicate the sophisticated thoughts such a bright child was surely having, like the meaning of life, and how best to guard a pick and roll.  Not so.  Certainly I’m imagining it, but after Ma Ma and Da Da, it seems his first words were “Me! Mine! And Gimme!”  (From his high chair he would get my attention by calling Da Da, point at my food and say “Mine!”  A limited vocabulary can go a long way.) The long philosophical talks about the meaning of life would have to wait.

It was like this little tyrant dropped into our home, started following us around, and demanded that we feed him!  And we had to do it because he looked just like us, so we couldn’t get rid of him.  Ok, so I’m exaggerating, but only a little.  In time the little fellow shifted his avaricious eye from food to money.  His vocabulary was much improved, so his requests were more sophisticated than pointing at my wallet and saying “Mine!”, but the underlying theme of the conversation was the same.

Jason Hutchinson, aka Super Man, takes the court during halftime of a game.

And then a funny thing happened.  One day last month my son asked me for $5.  All I had was a 5 dollar bill, so I told him to take it out of my wallet.  When I picked up my wallet the next morning it contained a note from Jason, and $2 worth of change (including a bunch of pennies.)  The note basically said thanks for the $5, but he did not want me to be broke, so please accept all this change.  I laughed long and hard at that one, deposited the change back in his piggy bank (where I’m sure he got it from), and kept the note in my wallet.

Anyone who has or observes children can relate to this story.  As children, we all go through a stage where we are most acutely aware of ourselves and our desires.  Gradually we become aware of the needs and feelings of others.  This developing empathy is a step in our developmental cycle as human beings.  It may even be THE POINT of our developmental cycle as human beings.  Maybe as we mature the urgency of our personal desires fade, and we learn how to work in harmony with others around us to accomplish the things that need to get done.  In any case this most recent step in my son’s cycle of development delighted me as it would most parents; now we could start talking about the really important stuff like the meaning of life and guarding a pick and roll!

As the 2010-2011 basketball season approaches, I often think about our 3 seniors that graduated last spring: Andrew Payne, Ben Goetsch and Zach White.  Anyone who has spent any time with me has heard me say that the winning started when those guys got to W&L.  This is not an exaggeration.  In their first game as freshman against Denison University, Andrew Payne stole a pass late in the 2nd half, made the layup, drew a foul and converted a free throw to put us up 2 in a game we would go on to win.  It was the first time (at 1-0) that we were over .500 in the previous 4 years.  That game (and play) set the tone, and we would spend the next 4 years winning.  All three guys would have highlights, from Payne coming off of the IR to take 3 charges in the open court in a road win against Averett College, to Zach White’s game winning layup at the buzzer on the road against nationally ranked Roanoke College, to Ben Goetsch’s dominating performance against Guilford College and their All-American center to fuel our upset in the ODAC Tournament and spark our run to 2009 ODAC Championship game.

Ok, so I took the liberty in most of that last paragraph to celebrate three guys whose effort I greatly admire and appreciate; back to cycles of development.  I see similarities in my son’s development as a person and Andrew, Ben and Zach’s development as players.  When those guys started as freshman, all three were pretty much focused on establishing themselves as players.  This is typical of most first year players.  By the time they were seniors, all they were concerned about was winning.  Now they were winners the day the set foot on campus, and started winning immediately.  But at that time, they mostly contributed to winning by making the steal or shot themselves.  As they developed and matured as players, they also learned to do the little things that allowed their teammates to contribute to wins.  Whether that was denying the ball into the post, holding the leading scorer in the ODAC scoreless, or taking a big charge, they gave unselfishly of themselves in ways that allowed their teammates to shine.

So babies are self centered and so are young basketball players.  Does that mean young basketball players are babies?  I sure hope not, because our team will be made up of mostly freshman and sophomores this season!  It may mean that human beings learn about the world most viscerally from a first person perspective, and will behave in a less self centered fashion as we gain enough experience to learn how facilitating others helps ourselves.  This is one of those lines of thought that led to interesting new thoughts and questions for me, but no definitive conclusions.  But it is a line of thought that I will keep in mind as we begin this season.

While writing this, I learned that our youngest son (5 years old) peed in the bathroom garbage can.  Wish me luck relating that to basketball, and thanks for reading.

We’re Better Together

September 8, 2010

By: Jan Hathorn
Athletic Director

I suspect that those who read this blog are fans of W&L athletics and, potentially, are as excited about the upcoming fall season as I am.  I’ve been watching the fall teams practice, listening to the coaches talk about their approaching seasons and experiencing the excitement as we build up to our opening weekend. It’s hard not to catch the fever.

One of the things I love most about athletics is the aspect of team.  It’s inescapable how important being a team is to the success of a sport.  And it is one of the most invaluable parts of a collegiate athletic experience, because when a team really comes together and functions as a true unit, there are very few things in this world that surpass the beauty and meaning of how this feels.  You are never the same after you experience team in this way, which is the drug of sport; you just can’t get enough of this kind of amazing experience. Anyone who has lived this knows exactly what I’m talking about and is probably nodding their head in agreement because you know all too well that you were changed as a person because of your team experiences.  And I’ll venture to guess that  you have used those experiences over and over in your life ever since, and in the end, these experiences transcend most anything else you have ever done.

It is my hope and prayer that this athletic department measures up to the standards of team that we expect of our student athletes, and, therefore, by extension, affords our students every opportunity to experience team in this way. Being part of something greater than yourself, working toward a common goal, and serving the needs of others while achieving the team’s and your own dreams, is a priceless endeavor that should be a fundamental reason for why we “do” sport. Where, if not in collegiate athletics, can a student experience something this meaningful and essential to their growth as a person and a member of our society?

So, our pledge to our student athletes is that we will work our hardest, day in and day out, to assure them the opportunity to experience team in a way they never have before. And in the end, it is our desire that they walk away knowing what I know to be true: we’re better together… we’re better when we’re a team.


September 3, 2010

By: Nate Jervey
Assistant Sports Information Director

I wouldn’t say that I watch a lot of television. I mean, I watch my fair share I suppose, but often I have better things to do than sit around and melt my brain. That being said, there is one show in particular that I would let melt my brain at any time. Man vs. Wild. Maybe I have a slight man-crush on Bear Grylls, maybe it’s the gut-wrenching feeling I get when he eats some of the most foul things I have ever seen someone consume. It was my (and my roommate’s) fascination with Bear Grylls and his awesome television show that led a group of four of us to undertake a similar adventure in the wild of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A trip into the woods with no shelter, no food, no matches, no nothing…really? “You’re and idiot,” was my dad’s response. My fellow traveler’s (I’ll get to them in a second) loved ones were less than thrilled. Even among us on the trip there was some trepidation, but we’re young and we’re dumb so surely this is going to work out ok.

The four of us before heading into the wild.

The idea of the trip was really the brainchild of my roommate, Garrett Brickner. He and his cousin share my fascination with Bear Grylls and they decided that a survival trip of some kind was in order. Shortly after pulling me in to the mix, the destination of Northern Michigan was selected. We chose it because its where I am from and I am pretty familiar with the area. Also, no poisonous snakes to worry about and most of the other creepy crawlies are far less troublesome than those in the South. Yes, we do have sizable bear, mountain lion, wolf and coyote populations, but it’s the little things that worried me more.

So we had a location picked out. Waco Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest, located a few hours west of the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula. Now, who is going to be making this tip? Well, Garrett and I were in for sure. His cousin actually dragged his feet all summer and finally decided that we could not make the trip out (he lives in Cali). It was about this time that I recruited my college roommate to join us as well. He said he was in need of some “guy” time and what better way to do “guy” stuff than going into the woods and trying not to die. So my college roomie made three, and we recruited a fourth when former W&L swim coach Mike Ginder said that he was in. He had been living with Garrett and I for part of the summer and he really did not need a whole lot of convincing to join us.

Ok, now we have the location and the participants. Next we need a list of allowable supplies. I mean, Bear Grylls takes his knife and some paracord and that’s about it. Well, given most of us having limited outdoor experience (I would say that Mike and I probably had the most, which is not to say that we had a great deal) we decided on a slightly larger list of supplies to take in. We had knives for each of us, iodine to purify water, magnesium and flint (for fire), extra clothes, a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun (for the bears), a hatchet and a map and compass. In true Bear Grylls fashion we took some paracord, though we did not find near as many uses for it as he did. There were a few other odds and ends, but that is the bulk of what we took in. Again, no food, no shelter, no sleeping bags. The only creature comfort we allowed ourselves was bug spray, which turned out to be a great idea.

What we took with us

Now that our stuff is packed, we head off to Michigan to pick up Ty (college roomie) and head off into the woods. We drive 11 hours to Ty’s place, then another 2.5 hours to my parents’ house, then another 4 hours to our destination. We arrive in the woods with high expectations and we soon realize that this may not be as easy as we think. We had planned on camping at a spot roughly halfway between Lake Waco and the Sturgeon River and as we made our way in what we thought was the right direction thoughts of mutiny rattled around most of our brains. Garrett and his VMI education took over and guided us to the river and then back to a suitable campsite but he must have taken the most difficult route to get there and after an hour of hiking and lugging my gear I nearly used the shotgun on him. And by campsite, I mean we cleared away a bunch of ferns and built a lean-to in the Y-portion of a poplar tree. We did manage to make fire without matches and resupply our water (which tastes terrible with iodine in it by the way) and as we sat around that night discussing our day, I think that we all thought that we would have made Bear Grylls proud.

Where we did not make him proud was our getting scared like little schoolgirls that evening. Some large creature definitely circled our campsite around 2:00 am and a few hours after that coyotes were heard not too far away. There were some concerned members in the camp and weapons were at the ready. Adding to our paranoia was that the fire nearly went out overnight and it took some frantic cutting of more firewood and saving of embers to ensure the fire made it through the night and gave us a bit of peace of mind.

Day two we hiked back to the lake where we came into the woods with the intention of doing some fishing to procure some food as all that we had eaten to this point were some raspberries that we found in the woods. Well, the lake turned out to be a big pond really and to say that that was the most miserable fishing experience of my life would be an understatement. Not so much as a bite. So we hike back to the river (about a 45-minute trek) and try fishing in that. Again, nothing. Other than a few frogs that we caught for bait, things were not looking good. It was upon our return to camp that it dawned on us…. we caught frogs — lets eat those little guys. So we did. We pretended to be French and we dined on Kermit’s cousins. Well, three of us did. Ty abstained from eating them and to be perfectly honest they did not taste all that great and they were a little small to really gain any kind of nutritional value from.

To paraphrase the remainder of the trip, Ty decided that he wanted to leave the woods a day early. So he left in the morning to go to a hotel, with the intention of coming back the following morning/afternoon to get Mike, Garrett and myself. Well, upon leaving the woods Ty heard about severe thunderstorms and tornados moving into the area. Being the good friend that he is, he figured that it would have been a terrible idea to leave us out in that overnight, so he trekked back into the woods (and got himself lost in the process) to tell us of the impending doom. At this point we can’t just tell him “no, we are staying out here,” so we pack our stuff up and hike out of the woods and go to a hotel for the night. Good thing we did too. Ty was not kidding about the storms moving into the area and we would have surely had a miserable night in the forest.

We wrapped up our trip with a few nights in Chicago, where we told all who would listen about our harrowing adventure in the wild. Upon return to civilization, we made a feature film of our trip (we had taken a video camera with us) and debuted the documentary to rave reviews in a truly spectacular red-carpet event. Actually, we showed the video to like 10-15 of our friends, but it has gotten pretty decent reviews.

The trip is still talked about fondly and we are looking to plan another one next year. Maybe not quite as difficult as this one, but some kind of camping/hiking/rafting/kayaking-type thing is on the books for next year. Additionally, screenings of ManScouts 2010 are available upon request at GTB Cinemas. Contact your local MoviePhone for details.

Best quote of the trip

My Dad –  “Its like boy scouts, expect there is no adult supervision.”

Me – “This is a Man Scouts trip.”

Alas, another school year is upon us as the calendar turns to September and my thoughts of surviving in the woods are put on the back burner to simmer until next summer and I am once again afforded the opportunity to head off into the wilderness. Until then, it is box scores and game programs for the foreseeable future. Best of luck to all of W&L’s fall athletes this year and be sure to come out and cheer on the Generals!!!!