In the parlance of the NCAA, I am an associated person, when it comes to Lafayette. I have been a trustee of the College, vice chairman of the finance committee, chairman of the organization that solicited larger gifts, president of my class, a member of the College’s booster club executive committee, chair of the Hall of Fame committee, and presently chair of the Friends of Lafayette Field Hockey. But first and foremost I am a fan. I root for the Leopards in all sports and support with donations, several of them. I want to see them all succeed.
I also support the academic side by endowing a named chair in the neuroscience department, a named prize for the best student, and several excel scholarships. I reveal all this to demonstrate my commitment to the school and its mission. I believe in the concept of “scholar-athlete” which the Patriot League represents and Lafayette demonstrates every year. Athletes learn teamwork, discipline, and goal setting. Being a division one athlete is not for everyone, just as studying quantum mechanics is not everyone’s cup of tea. Having these committed student athletes is a plus for our College, and adds to the diverse population of “Leopards”.
During a meeting, a decade ago, a person who shall remain anonymous , opined to me, ” We are not in the business of training professional athletes.” I thought the statement was uninformed and took an uneducated view of athletics, which to my mind is “co-curricular.” The correct answer is ,if someone choses to be a professional athlete they will have received an education that allows them to appreciate civilization and contribute as their talents allow. You could insert doctor, lawyer or scientist for professional athlete. Not one person who graduates after four years at Lafayette is qualified to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, perform brain surgery, or even run a large corporation. Skills learned on the playing fields for these extraordinary students go beyond the details of the game. They provide skills that can be applied to almost any discipline. At the division one level, which we compete at, we are attracting the very best.
In the coming weeks, I will be reporting on the events on the field but I will be doing it from my perspective. I will not criticize individual players, but unlike a school publication who will always find a rosy perspective, I will say when they played beneath their ability. Field Hockey is a team sport, and the team includes everyone. Unlike the school publications, I will write when an official blew a call. When something extraordinary is accomplished on or off the field I will make note of it.
I have been critical at times of the school, if policies are inappropriate. Ten years ago when the Patriot League went to athletic scholarships I was a strong proponent, and I thought the administration’s position at the time, was ill-considered and destructive. It is my belief the current administration wants to see every activity perform at a level that produces positive experiences for its students, including athletics. Lafayette benefits from having these extraordinary student athletes on campus and that support is crucial to its ultimate success.
Within a week, all the fall sports will begin training and I will be there at the field hockey field to report on the team. I sincerely believe they could be one of the most successful teams on campus this year. The talent is there, the question remains can they come together as a team. I can’t wait to find out!!
Next: When preseason begins there will be preseason polls. Where will our Leopards sort out with the rest of league in the opinion of other coaches and school communications writers??