When I was in college, I played several team sports and also became an avid cyclist. Athletics was a very important part of my life and my education. It helped me develop the discipline I needed to get through tough situations. I believe there is no other activity where the relationship between training, effort, and ultimate achievement is more obvious. The human body is such a remarkable machine that a week or two of strength training results in visible changes.
In a previous professional life, I worked in health education. My colleagues and I would display a healthy lung for youngsters to see and then show them the diseased lung of an inactive smoker. Talk about visual impact….every child understood the direct impact of lifestyle and life choices.
The Nike motto of “just do it” resonates with me. Being an athlete teaches you that you have to do the work yourself. You have to practice; you have to learn strategy and fundamentals; you have to think and work together as a team. These are valuable lessons that help Lees-McRae students perform in the classroom and in life.
At Lees-McRae College, our athletes are first and foremost student-athletes. They are high achievers in the classroom, active in community service, and engaged in internships and work-study. These young men and women are well on the road to becoming the engaged citizens our participatory democracy demands. The best student-athletes at Lees-McRae do not just come here to play soccer or volleyball. They come to Lees-McRae because they want to excel in those areas, but also because they want a fine education that will prepare them for a successful career and community engagement.
As competition for top-performing students gets tougher and tougher, Lees-McRae’s diverse athletics program remains one of our strengths. One out of every three Lees-McRae students is a scholarship athlete. Our coaches help to recruit almost half of our first-year class each year. They scour the playing fields, courts, and training facilities to find students with that rare combination of athletic talent and academic achievement who want to study at a small regional college high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our coaches reach out to student-athletes and, together with our admissions counselors, inform applicants about the “value equation” and special qualities of Lees-McRae.
We are proud of our athletes, not only for their individual accomplishments and their team’s championship trophies, but also for the way in which our athletes get engaged in the life of our community and express their desire to serve others. At Lees-McRae we strongly believe in the ancient Greek value of a balanced life….intellectual, spiritual, and physical growth. A sound mind requires a sound body. Students who learn the discipline, strategy, and perseverance required of successful athletes are the same students who will succeed in other arenas once they matriculate at Lees-McRae.
In playing sports, we reveal who we are….a simple round of golf can tell you more about a potential business partner than hours spent in a conference room. In competition, we really understand the character of the person: who cheats, who is gracious in defeat, and who gloats over success.
At Lees-McRae, we revel in the glory of competition and we subscribe to the values of fairness and good sportsmanship. We love our student-athletes and we hold our Bobcat spirit high.