Looking Back

by

By: Rich Campbell ’03
Former Sports Information Student Assistant
Guest Blogger

I recently reviewed my resume while helping a friend update hers, and it hit me how influential my experiences with Washington and Lee athletics continue to be almost nine years after I graduated. (Nine years? Ugh.)

Most fall Sundays are spent with a view like this one from New York

Every step on the path to my current job – I’m the Washington Times’ Redskins beat writer – has been possible because of evenings I spent at the Warner Center and afternoons in the old Wilson Field press box or at the Liberty Hall Fields.

Before I even arrived in Lexington in the fall of 1999, I contacted Brian Laubscher in the sports information office to inquire about opportunities to gain work experience. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in sports, and W&L offered several ways to pursue that. That W&L competes in Division III didn’t matter; in fact, I believe that makes the opportunities for students more accessible.

Brian welcomed my help, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I came to school with some high school experience in William & Mary’s sports info department, and Brian put me to work in ways that nurtured professionalism, responsibility and media skills. I helped his interns and him keep stats, write and edit news releases and with other elements of hectic life in the sports info department.

As a result, I knew the Generals sports landscape when joined The Trident as a sports reporter during my junior year. I began working the women’s tennis beat knowing that team was a national contender. And when I became sports editor the following year, my foundation of knowledge was such that I could produce quality work I was confident in presenting to employers.

When I reflect on how W&L athletics have shaped my life – to say nothing of the fulfilling friendships that endure to this day – I would encourage any student to take the initiative to get involved on campus.

It doesn’t have to be sports-related, of course. There’s music, science, drama, business, etc. A relatively small college community such as W&L provides students accessible opportunities to build lasting work and life experiences. Sometimes there’s a sacrifice involved – I never attended a football tailgate during my four years – but the benefits are immeasurable.

The view from Jerry World, the Cowboys $1.3 billion stadium

And I’d challenge all faculty and staff to emulate how Brian welcomed me and pushed me. W&L is overflowing with talented young men and women who possess potential for great things. Help draw it out of them.

I was in Dallas last September to cover the Redskins’ Monday night game against the Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium, all $1.3 billion of it, was the center of the American sports universe that night. As I walked up to the stadium, I marveled at my place there. I thought: “This is a long way from Bridgewater-W&L at Wilson Field.” But I wouldn’t have been there without that.

You can follow Rich on Twitter at @Rich_Campbell or read his Redskins Blog at http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/redskins-watch/

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