On April 24, we held our annual Senior Student-Athlete Recognition Ceremony. Not only were our players honored to receive Senior Student-Athlete of the Year (Kadie Koolwick, Midfield) and the Kovalchik Scholar-Athlete Award Nomination (Victoria Della Pia, Goalkeeper) — one of our seniors was asked to speak at the event. Here is the speech in full — an excellent conclusion to the event, given by Julie Wood (Attacker, pictured below). Julie is a senior two-year captain for the Brits.
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Julie Wood and I am a senior on the Albion College women’s lacrosse team. It is an honor to be standing up here in front of all of you to give a few final remarks on the closing of the 2015-2016 season.
Athletics have always been a huge part of my life, as I am sure they have been for all of you as well. Eight years ago, if I was asked if I wanted to play college lacrosse, I couldn’t have even imagined it as a possibility. Now, as I stand here in front of all of you with a few short weeks left in my season, I couldn’t imagine my college career without it. There is a lot to say about an individual who commits to four years of being a college athlete. We learn a lot more than how to be better at our sport. We learn to manage our time, work as a group, handle pressure and even build our character along the way. When you are a part of a college team, you are committing to more than just playing a sport. You are committing to being a part of the whole Albion athletic community.
Being a part of this community has changed my life. In just 3 months, I have spent roughly 157 hours at practice, in the weight room and in the varsity lounge. On top of that there have been additional hours spent in my Coach’s office, one on one sessions in the Dow Center, travel time to away games, study tables, clinics, our games, and more. In other words, a little over 10% of all my time in the last three months has been spent with my team – building a family within the community. As seniors, each year we’ve built new and stronger connections on our teams and with other athletes. Our relationships with all of the athletic faculty also continued to grow with each hour spent at the Dow.
Each one of us has been influenced by our teammates in some way. Our coaches, trainers and the athletic faculty have also hugely impacted our lives. Just this year alone, several Albion coaches have supported my team. From 6:00am morning conditioning with the basketball coaches, being taught how to squat properly in the weight room by football staff, Coach Scott from women’s soccer teaching us defensive tactics at practice, the track coaches putting up with our missed catches while their team runs sprints, to Coach DeCola from men’s lacrosse teaching us invaluable life lessons about field mice at SAAC clinics, we’ve been impacted by so many others in the athletic community simply by being a part of a team.
The support we have for each other on this campus is amazing. In the four years I have been here, my respect for other athletes has grown immensely. It’s not easy to be a student-athlete, but with the support of the athletic community it’s possible to commit to four years. So freshmen, hang tight because not only is each year different, but they go by very fast too.
During our four years, we’ve seen victories, losses, shed some tears, shared in laughs, thought we were going to pass out running sprints, ate way too much with our teammates, and most importantly we established great relationships with the people who helped us through this journey.
The athletic staff has been a huge help in keeping the joy of being a Briton alive. Matt Arend and Melissa Walton (Athletic Directors) have done a wonderful job at bringing athletes together through supporting our coaches, influencing us to always and only wear purple and gold in the Dow, and making SAAC a really cool organization to be a part of. Thank you for all that you do for the athletic community. We wouldn’t be as strong without both of you. Bobby Lee (Sports Information Director), thank you for always bringing your ‘A’ game over the loud speaker, writing awesome game recaps to read on bus rides home and making gobrits.com and all of our social media a great representation of Albion Athletics. Andy Lawrence (Head Athletic Trainer), we appreciate the hell out of ya. Sometimes I think athletes come in for “rehab” to actually just chat. Your friendly smile and jokes make taking an ice bath a little easier. Thank you to you and all of the athletic training staff. A special shout out goes to President Ditzler for bringing the community all together to make our experience as student-athletes better. You have done a wonderful job of making the campus a welcoming place. Thank you to President Ditzler and the entire faculty and staff.
Coaches. Speaking on be half of the student-athletes in this room — thank you for the numerous hours you have spent preparing, motivating and supporting our teams. Our coaches play a huge role in how we’ve grown both individually and as a team. We appreciate all that you do.
Brits. Thank you for being a part of why being an athlete is such an awesome experience. Great teammates are essential to make it through the journey of being a student-athlete.
Seniors, thank you for committing yourselves to your teams. I admire all of you for your hard work and dedication. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to make the Albion athletic community better. As we move forward with our lives, we will always remember the hours we spent in purple and gold. What we are leaving behind is more than wins and losses. The opportunity to play a college sport is rare. Remember to appreciate your final week on this campus, stop in the Dow one more time and always remember that once a Brit, always a Brit.