Archive for November, 2011

An EXTERNal Experience

November 18, 2011

By: Anthony Watson
Athletic Department Legal Extern

Hello blogging universe!  I am very pleased and excited to be apart of this ongoing dialogue.  When W&L Associate Athletic Director Shana Levine asked me to opine on my thoughts and experiences as a legal extern, I was a bit uncertain.  I have never contributed to a blog, and the opportunity to share my perspectives through this type of medium is new territory for me.  So with this in mind, I think a quick introduction is in order.

Law School Football League Champs!

I am currently a W&L third-year law school student from Fort Worth, TX.  An interesting factoid (and an effective conversation starter among coaches) is that prior to attending law school, I played football for one year at Baylor University and tennis the following year at Jackson State University (it’s a long story and potentially blog worthy, but I’d be glad to share it with anyone who stops by the athletic department office on Monday afternoons this semester).   Additionally, I am basking in the recent glory of having won the Law School Football League championship (Go L-SACK!!!).  For anyone who is unaware of the fervent intensity involved from week to week in the LSFL, it is amongst one of the extracurricular highlights of the school year (and yes, after overcoming two years of playoff disappointments, I can FINALLY graduate in peace, lol).  Ok, so having laid out my general background (and the fact that I equate the quality of my legal education with LSFL success) I can now begin to delve into the experiences I’ve obtained while externing for the athletic department.  First off, it has been a sincere pleasure working in the athletic department office with Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn, Bryan Snyder, Carolyn Mayo, Emily Nicely and of course Shana.  There is a reason that Washington and Lee student-athletes have enjoyed such tremendous success on the playing fields and in the classroom, and I truly believe that it originates from the leadership and assistance provided by the individuals listed above.  I have also enjoyed the frequent contact and discussions with various coaches throughout the department as they stop by the office or during staff meetings.  Their insight, diligence, and dedication to their respective sports and student-athletes serve as an additional testament to the prevailing culture of success within the W&L athletic department.

The legal externship program is a collaborative educational initiative between the W&L law school and various employers throughout the state of Virginia.  The overarching goal of the program is to give participating students a practical legal working experience prior to their graduation.  The program includes student placements with state courts, law firms, corporations (two of my classmates got a really cool placement with Rosetta Stone), and government entities.  Although I’m not totally sure as to which area of law that I’d like to practice after graduation, I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t think I’ll fall into the conventional Perry Mason/Matlock category.  In fact, I was overjoyed when I met Shana and discovered that while she possessed a law degree, she wasn’t restricted to working in the traditional legal setting.  She has incorporated her training as an attorney with her passion for collegiate athletics and fashioned it into a successful career in higher education and athletic compliance.  Needless to say, as a former athlete I was eager to garner any experience that would allow me to the merge my education and interests into a rewarding and fulfilling career.  And thus far, I have not been disappointed.  I have had the opportunity to sit in on staff meetings and observe the inner workings of the athletic department and how it strives to serve the best interests of its student athletes.  I have attended meetings discussing Title IX compliance and how coaches and administrative figures can actively help to ensure the safety and well-being of both students and the university’s interests.  Additionally, I have become more knowledgeable about the NCAA governing process and the varying compliance issues that an athletic department must address on a daily basis.  I have a profound respect for the department’s ability to the balance multiple moving parts and keep everything in order so that W&L can continue to experience athletic and academic success.

Having this alternative educational experience has really helped to broaden my perspective about possible career options.   As I near the end of my placement, I can honestly say that the externship process has accomplished its main goal of exposing me to an area of interest that I may not have considered otherwise.  I am pleased and thankful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful people and gain lasting experience and insight.

During this time of thanks, I hope everyone is able to enjoy each passing moment with family, friends and loved ones.   It has been a pleasure writing to you all, and I hope that everyone has a wonderful and blessed holiday season.   HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Do I work for a living?

November 15, 2011

By: Brandon Uhl
Head Men’s Track & Field Coach

Coaching track & field is much better than loading trucks!

I’m often asked by my mother, how’s work going or how was work today? My response to her is typically, “I don’t work”. When I say that, I don’t mean that I don’t work at what I do. I just mean that what I do doesn’t seem like work to me.

Coaching and teaching is a passion for me and the normal day to day responsibilities I have don’t seem like work to me. I have the flexibility to do what I need to do when I want to do it. I have the opportunity to help young people, I can stay in shape, and I can meet great people. Most of all, every day is different and I look forward to it.

For 40 years my father had a job in a factory doing some of the same stuff day after day. I know he worked for a living and he didn’t often look forward to it. He did it because he needed to and wanted to help support our family.

When I was getting my bachelors and masters degrees, I would get jobs in the summer to make some money to have during the school year. I had the opportunity to see what many people do for a living, like my father, and it was work.

Here is what I did for my summers. I had a job changing fire alarm sprinklers, painting, cleaning big steel furnaces, stocking bread into crates, loading and unloading 20 foot stacks of bread crates onto tractor trailers (praying I wouldn’t tip it over and make fool of myself). I pulled weeds and did some landscaping.  My personal favorite; I drove cars from dealers around NY back to an auction site for Friday auctions, where I drove cars through a line and the auctioneer spoke so fast that I didn’t know when to pull away.

I remember thinking to myself; I’m going to college so I don’t have to do this work for a living. Believe me, it made me appreciate what they do and what I do for a living now; made me realize that people do work for a living and they don’t always like what they do.

People ask me how I’m doing now and my response is, “Living the dream one day at a time.” It’s a real joy when you can wake up each day knowing you’re doing something you want to do and love to do.

A Birthday Present

November 11, 2011

By: Jane Beall
Assistant Field Hockey Coach

Just a heads up, I am about to abuse this forum for blatantly personal purposes.  I will discuss sports only in passing, and only for the purpose of crafting a metaphor or two.  But, then again, isn’t that what blogging is all about?  A little corner of cyberspace for verbose self-indulgence?

My sister Taylor

Well, today is a very important and special day.  It’s 11-11-11 and exactly thirty years ago, Antigua and Barbuda joined the UN.  Also, my sister, Taylor, was born.   My sister rules and she is my best friend.  You know those pillows that say, “God made us sisters, love made us friends?”  My sister and I make fun of that crap all the time.  And that’s what really makes us friends.

In honor of her birthday and her favorite number, here are 11 things about Taylor.

1. She will “like” this on Facebook.  She’ll probably be the only one, too.  And you know what?  She will genuinely like it, because she is my biggest cheerleader and thinks stuff I do is awesome.  At least once a week, I’ll call her with some kind of harebrained idea, like “I’m going to invent a coffeemaker for your car!” or communicate my new left-field life plan of rehabilitating sick elephants in Thailand, and Taylor’s responses will be, respectively, “Oh, I’d buy one of those!” and “I can’t wait to visit!”    Everyone should go through life knowing that at least one person thinks you are awesome.

2. Taylor doesn’t see the glass half full or half empty.  She just quietly goes to the sink and fills the glass back up.  She doesn’t wallow or complain, and she doesn’t deny there is a problem, she just goes and finds solutions.

3. She is the only person on planet Earth who can shop with me.  I am the worst to shop with when I have a particular item I need.  I can be – on the same shopping trip – both a frantically irate semi-human and uncooperatively catatonic.  When Taylor starts to see my mood barometer leaning toward one or the other, she can gently suggest that maybe I have lost a little bit of perspective and should probably get myself together.  And then we get iced coffee at Starbucks and a scene is averted.

4. I normally would send this to her to read and give feedback on like I do with everything else I have ever written in my life, but this post a surprise and comprises most of her birthday present (happy birthday, Taylor!) so if it’s sub-par, it’s because she has not given me her constructive notes.

5. My sister is one of the smartest people I know, hands down.  She was accepted at every college to which she applied, turning down Dartmouth to be an Echols Scholar at UVa.  By her third year, she was a part of the elite poetry program there and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in her third year.  She was accepted into UVa’s MFA program, which is ranked in the 4th most selective program in the country.  After realizing that fiction writing was not her passion, she left to pursue teaching.  Taylor now teaches IB English at a high school in Richmond and is crushing it.  She is dedicated, tough, and fair.  I hear her lesson plans and wish I could take her class.  I am comforted and optimistic about America’s youth knowing that someone like Taylor is out there on the front lines, educating them.

Here we are at Christmas time

6. Taylor can knit and crochet.  For Christmas, she is going to crochet me two panels.  One is going to say, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” (which is a famous phrase from one of our favorite shows, Friday Night Lights).  The other is going to say “Shut Your Whore Mouth.”  I plan on framing both, and putting them side-by-side in a place of reverence in my home.

7. She hates driving.  I hate passengering.  Another reason why we’re best friends.

8. One of our favorite things to do together on a beautiful Sunday is to go to an 11 AM movie that has been running for a couple of weeks and split a popcorn for our lunch.  We both appreciate the beauty of having an entire movie theater all to yourselves.  We also appreciate delicious popcorn.

9. When Taylor was a baby, she didn’t really ever crawl.  One day, she just started to walk upright like a civilized human.  It was the same thing with talking – when she was ready, she just started talking in complete sentences.  That is so typically Taylor.  When she decides to do something, whether it’s talking, walking, or putting together Ikea furniture, she does it excellently.

10. Taylor does not really like music and she hates watching sports, but she loves The Sing-Off and can name all of the pitchers in the Braves’ early-90’s pitching rotation.  The girl is a constant surprise.

11. We can tell each other anything, but we usually don’t have to.

Happy birthday, Taylor!

If I won the lottery

November 4, 2011

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

It’s November 4 and I’m up for a blog entry.  Aside from wondering where the time went between now and my last entry on October 4, my brain is pretty much dead when it comes to ideas.

I could write some more about my son Parker and truthfully having him in my life has been more than I could have ever expected.  I’m sure there will never be a dull moment for the rest of my days on this Earth.  But, my last entry was pretty much about him and I’d like to write about something else.  Then it hit me.  Today is Friday and the day is nearly done.  Besides making my 45-minute commute home, there’s one other thing on my agenda for today – something that I have done every Tuesday and Friday since I heard the words “I’m Pregnant”.  Before I leave town, I need to stop at the gas station and get a Mountain Dew so I have enough of a caffeine rush to survive the aforementioned commute.  I also purchase a ticket for the Mega Millions Lottery.

This outdoor kitchen/bar area would do

I know this sounds nuts, but I’ve always believed that I would someday win the lottery.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I believe that I was meant to spend my days playing golf and barbequing on the patio between my pool and the french doors that lead to the game room and bar area of my palatial estate.  Problem is that it’s hard to win the lottery unless you actually play.  I may have bought a ticket a total of 5-6 times (let’s clarify, a real ticket, not the scratchers that I sometimes give to family around Christmas time) over the first 36 years of my life (actually 18 years since you have to be 18 to play).

It wasn’t until I heard those two words in January that I started playing for real.  I guess it is that immediate sense of knowing that you’ve got to provide for your family and knowing that an SID salary is barely more than the cost of day care these days. So, I chose to start playing on a regular basis in hopes that this could set us up for good.

Of course I know the chances of winning are one in a gazillion, but tell that to the person in California that won $78 million in Tuesday’s drawing (I barely missed having the mega ball for a whopping $2 winner).  As I think about buying today’s ticket, I can’t help but think about what I would do with the money if I won.  So, here is today’s blog topic: What I would do if I won $12 million in tonight’s drawing.

The very first thing that I would do, aside from driving to Richmond to claim my loot, would be to set up a trust for Parker that would take care of his college education and provide a little start up cash for the beginning of his adult life.  I’d want him to have to work towards making his own way in life, but helping provide the platform and a little something to get started could do wonders in his life.

The next thing I would do is split up some cash to divide among family members.  You know, enough to take care of nieces and nephews’ college educations and perhaps pay off a few mortgages for brothers and sisters, moms and dads, etc.

After Mindy and I researched where we would like to call home (yes, this means I would likely leave W&L and look to move to a slightly more metropolitan area), I would build the house of my dreams on the hole of some pretty nice golf course.  I wish I already had the cash in hand and the architect renderings to show you, but that will have to wait for a little bit.  I can tell you Mindy would have the run of most of the house with regards to design and décor, but that gameroom/bar/patio/pool area is going to be all me.  She’d definitely be down since she asked me the other day if I had a five-tap kegerator, what five beers would I have on tap (perhaps those could be revealed in December’s blog entry).

I’m not big on buying a ton of cars so I’d probably settle on a nice luxury sedan (like a Mercedes or BMW), along with a full-size, four-door pickup truck.  Mindy could pick whatever she wanted, but I’m sure there would be an SUV in her queue.

As I mentioned earlier, I would quit my job.  Let me be clear that it’s not because I don’t love what I do.  I love my job.  It’s just that I wouldn’t want to continue doing it for 45-55 hours a week like I currently am doing.  I’d probably look to evenly split my time between the golf course, volunteering for some charitable organization (where I’ll also probably commit some cash resources), and volunteering my services to some SID office in the area on a game-by-game basis.  That would continue to fulfill the yearnings to continue being a stat nerd.

Lastly, I would probably set some money aside or invest some money to pay for a vacation schedule of 1-2 months per year that would allow for me to travel the world over the next 30 years taking in plenty of sights and foreign cultures for my family and I.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my days.

So there you have it, what I would do if I see six matching numbers when I look up the Mega Millions website tomorrow morning before my trip to Hampden-Sydney to see the Generals win their second-straight ODAC Championship.  Feel free to write in and let me know what you would do with $12 million.  Have a great weekend everybody!

W&L for life

November 1, 2011

By: Andy Krauss
Former Assistant SID
Guest Blogger

In January of 1998, Brian Logue asked me to come down to interview for an assistant sports information director position at a small university I had barely heard of in an even smaller southern town I had never heard of.  As a recent college graduate my response was “why not?”  Bold words from a young man who had just graduated from a school of 30,000 at the University of Maryland and was used to the big city feel of the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

I took that job at Washington and Lee University and 14 years later, both the school and the town of Lexington hold prominent places in my heart.

The fondness I grew for Lexington and its charm grew so much after the 15 months I spent at W&L, that I decided to return after a year away and spend four years on the other side of town at VMI, where I also had an incredible experience.

It was the personal friendships that I developed at both schools that have had the most impact of my life and continue today.  Brian Laubscher, who I worked with at W&L for the final nine months convinced me to come back and work at VMI.  We spent countless workdays as co-workers and colleagues meeting for lunch and discussing the challenges of our business.   Today, he is still one of my most trusted friends and I was honored to serve as a groomsman in his wedding, which was held in where else, but downtown Lexington.

Brendan Harrington was a freshman at W&L when I started.  Our unique interests in sports led to an instant friendship.  It became stronger when I returned to Lexington.  Although I live in suburban Washington, D.C. and he lives in upstate New York, we manage to talk at least once a week.

Rich Campbell had not even enrolled at W&L when I was working there.  Our paths crossed when I was in my final year at VMI and he had returned to work at the Lexington News-Gazette, fresh off a four-year career in the W&L Sports Information office.  We also became friends instantly and when we returned to the Washington area the next fall, he helped me make professional connections and created career opportunities that have led to my gameday position as the Washington Redskins internal public address announcer.  He is also a cherished friend.

Quite honestly, this list could go on forever: Scott McGuinness, Greg Murphy, XaK Bausch, of course Brian Logue…and this is only people from the W&L side of things.  Please don’t get mad at me if I leave you out.  I could write a whole other column about how much my friends at VMI mean to me.

And W&L follows you everywhere.  Five years ago, I was walking around Brookline Avenue, on my way to Fenway Park to see my beloved Baltimore Orioles lose again.  From across the street, I heard the most undeniable New England accent I have ever known.   Of course, it was then-W&L athletic director Michael F. Walsh, who was in town to visit family and enjoy the game.  I crossed the street and we discussed all of our W&L friends for a good 10 minutes, shook hands and went about our merry ways.

W&L’s contributions to my social circle are truly a testament to students it attracts and the people it hires.  I have always felt nothing by welcomed when I have walked around campus.  People are always, friendly, inviting, intelligent and just fun to be with.

I try to make it back to Lexington once a year and usually make it.  It is more than worth it to catch a game on either campus, but even more worth it to catch up with old friends or even loose acquaintances.   I am reminded daily of the town that means so much to me by the painting of North Main Street that hangs in my Silver Spring Easter Seals office.

The mountains, storefronts and fall foliage are all beautiful…but not nearly as much as the friends that I have made for life!