What is Senior Day for a student-athlete? What emotions surface – happiness, joy, sadness, relief? Is it a signification of the end of one journey and the beginning of another? A proud ceremony for friends, and family who have supported, encouraged and endured through a lifetime of athletic events… Is that what it is?
For me it is a very special moment as I shake the hands of the student-athletes, congratulate their parents and take part in a very unique time in their lives. It is the end of a collegiate athletic career, and for some, this is bittersweet as it signifies the end of being a student-athlete and the future of adulthood, real world and great responsibilities.
Over the past two weeks, I have seen a lot of Senior Days and all have been so gratifying. Watching proud parents make one more trip up the mountain to cheer on their son or daughter, see classmates come out and support their friends, and watch coaching staffs honor the efforts of those young people.
And Banner Elk has not disappointed as we have had cloudless skies, moderately warm temperatures and great crowds both of the student body, faculty and staff, and also the community.
For me, watching these young people grow up and mature in front of my own eyes is what gets me. I remember shaking their hands on their recruiting visits, telling their parents this was a great place for them to spend their college careers, and letting them know the coaches would be watching over their special treasures for the next four years.
While it will indeed be sad to see our seniors graduate and depart, the impact they have made will not be forgotten. They have experienced some of the greatest success of any Bobcat athletic teams ever, and for this, I am hoping they will reflect on this experience with a great deal of pride.
I know I will.
Thank you for letting me share what the last two weeks have been for me as we prepare for another group of seniors to rise in the position soon.
Until next time,