Athletes . . . Learning Life Skills in the Athletics “Classroom”

The annual NCAA Convention is taking place this week in Texas, and Charlie Robert, Director of Athletics, is there representing Nichols College.  Although, she explains, the climate feels like New England, not Texas!

In light of the Convention, I thought it was a good time to recognize the role of athletics here at Nichols. When students visit our campus, one of their first questions is about our athletics program. It is no wonder given that 48 percent of the Fall 2012 incoming class are student-athletes. We have had a number of prospective students, men and women alike, inquire about cross country and track. Recognizing the importance of these sports to many students, we added both in Fall 2012, and they will become varsity sports in Fall 2013.  Of course, my personal bias would be to add an equestrian team!

The proportion of our students who are involved in athletics has risen in recent years; so it is an important part of our culture. Teams are a perfect place for students to learn and practice key life and organizational skills – time management, leadership, teamwork, goal setting, etc. Visit a classroom, a team study hall or team practice, and you will find students who are working hard to succeed in the classroom and on the field, court or ice. For most athletes, it takes commitment, dedication, and a great deal of time and hard work to be a contributing team member.

Our coaches and their staff teach life skills in the athletics “classroom,” and in many cases create a personal connection for students—a family away from home. In addition, our coaches are incredible role models and often the first ones to know if a student is feeling homesick or struggling in a particular class.

An earlier blog profiled Coach Mike Vendetti, whose players from the 1970s still talk about what a major influence he was on their lives. Our current coaches will also be fondly remembered in years to come.

As with our coaches, our athletes’ contributions do not end after they graduate. Many of them participate in alumni events, provide financial support, spread the word to high school students and families, and hire NC grads. Here’s hoping for a successful Spring 2013 athletic season!

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