A True Honor

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By: Karin Treese Bauer ’99
Special to the Sidelines Blog

Family. Honor. History.

Terms that lingered in my mind after a visit to Lexington earlier this month for Hall of Fame weekend and to celebrate “25 Years of Women’s Soccer” at Washington and Lee.

My brother Kevin

Family is immeasurably important to me. Always has been, and always will be. I grew up with two loving parents and an older brother with a degenerative muscle disease, and we constantly relied on one another and were a unit. I have been described at times as an old soul and have put value into all of the relationships I have had with people through the years. Some say I was even raised by committee because I had so many people in my life that I valued and respected and who impacted me in some way, even the tiniest way. These people, as well has my family, instilled in me that the “little things” really do mean a lot. I have always valued my “family,” whether the person was in my immediate family, or someone that is as close (or closer) to me than a family member, or someone simply playing a special role in my life. I am eternally grateful for each and every one of those people who have been a part of the journey so far.

Being back in Lexington, I realized how vast my family truly is. I am so very fortunate … I am fortunate to have attended W&L, I am fortunate to have received a top-notch education, I am fortunate to have had a successful experience as a student-athlete, and most importantly, I am extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with so many amazing people associated with the school (past and present) … students, teammates, professors, coaches, administrators, friends of the University. All of them honorable members of the W&L family.

My family

Honor is a word that naturally goes hand in hand with the names (George) Washington & (Robert E.) Lee, and with such an institution, with uniqueness, prestige and history … There really is no place on Earth like it. And speaking of honor, I graduated in the Bicenquinquagenary of the school. That’s the 250th anniversary for those that can’t pronounce, let alone spell, that word! I was honored last year to be inducted into the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame, a distinction magnified by the celebration of the 2010 Hall of Fame weekend almost a year ago to the day. I remember it vividly because it was the weekend of my daughter’s 5th birthday…another honor to have her and my family share that weekend with me. It really seems like I was just in Lexington for that celebration. Playing soccer for so many seasons, I will never forget the feelings that the Fall always brought…preparing for the season, the first home game of the season in front of friends and family, the cool crisp air for games in late October leading up to the playoffs, the sheer beauty of the picturesque Blue Ridge backdrop especially when the leaves change (which happened to be close to Parent’s Weekend), and so many others. This fall I found myself in Lexington again, longing for those feelings. But I was thrilled to be there to witness my classmate and true man of character Mikel Parker, as well as three other well-deserving inductees, be inducted in the Hall of Fame as the class of 2011. All of them truly honorable members of the W&L family.

Posing with Mikel Parker

There was also a celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of women’s soccer at W&L. Again, it was an honor to have shared in the program’s history, and to put faces with the names of so many of the influential women that have gone through the program. These are women who were pioneers and whom I heard about prior to my time on campus, and then women whom I have read about as I have followed the success of the team since I graduated. But regardless of when they spent their time at W&L, these are women who have shared similar goals as people, and as athletes. Meeting and talking with some of them, they are people that I felt like I had known for a long time because of all that we have in common. But at the root, they are more honorable members of the W&L family.

Before I left for college, a “family” member once told me, “College will be the best and fastest four years of your life.” I initially shrugged and thought, “OK, thanks.” But looking back, I agree with him whole-heartedly. To all the current student-athletes, I say enjoy every second of your time in Lexington, because you are in a very special place. Take the time to peer into the stands at your game, to just look around the field or court at your teammates, your coaches, your fans, and truly savor the moment: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people … every second of it. Be especially thankful for your coaches and teammates, and all those around you, because they truly are your family, and always will be. And while these four years simply are the best, they will pass in a blink of an eye. I sincerely hope they are as special and meaningful to you as they were to me. I am thankful and honored to be a part of the W&L “family” and the history of this prestigious institution.

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