Bulldog athletes: You have every right to feel disappointed that you didn't get to complete this athletics season, but don't relax and let your next opportunity slip away.
That was a message Monday, April 27, from Chazz Woodson '01, one of several alumni who are speaking to our student-athletes this spring through Zoom.
“You don't know when that moment is going to be gone," Mr. Woodson told members of the lacrosse program. “Invest yourself now."
Mr. Woodson, played professional lacrosse for several seasons. He's now a teacher-coach in Florida and an ambassador for lacrosse, traveling around the country to spread the game.
Matt Cooper '17, who plays baseball for Clemson University, spoke to the baseball program on April 28; Angela Hucles '96, an Olympic gold medalist and former professional standout, spoke April 29 with soccer players; Clark Cummings '16, who plays tennis at Hampden-Sydney College, spoke April 30 with the tennis program.
Brian Peccie '16, a golf standout at Washington and Lee, is among the scheduled speakers in May.
All athletes have a level playing field in this world that has come to a standstill amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Woodson said. With gyms and parks closed, everyone is in the same position - at home and reliant upon themselves to stay sharp.
The more you work on fitness and practice drills, the more fun it will become, Mr. Woodson said. Plus, you'll push teammates to put in just as much effort.
It's not easy being so disciplined, Mr. Woodson said. He admitted he didn't always have that dedication when he was at NA.
But, he still has days when he looks back and wonders whether he could've been a better player if he'd worked just a little harder.
“Take care of it now, so you're not dreaming about it later," he said.
Cooper hit a similar theme with baseball players. He has been sticking to his regular training routine. He runs and works out three or four days a week.
There's going to be baseball again, he reminded everyone. He'll be a senior when he returns to Clemson in the fall.
“What we're working for now is next season," he said.
Cooper wanted to play college baseball at the highest level, and achieved that goal. His time hasn't gone as he dreamed, though.
He was a standout for Academy, but everyone playing ACC baseball is a standout, he said. He has been primarily a pinch hitter at Clemson.
He has dealt with that disappointment by preparing as if he could become part of the regular lineup at any point.
“Work as hard as you possibly can," he said.
The main advice from Cummings was to be assertive, no matter whether that's in athletics, school, or pursuing a job. He graduates from Hampden-Sydney this spring, with interests in both coaching tennis and broadcasting.
As an example of his advice, he connected with Cracked Rackets, a tennis media outlet, by messaging on multiple social media platforms. He's excited about their expansion possibilities, but has spent the past few weeks reaching out to dozens of other people in his desired fields.
“You've got to go after it and not be hesitant," he said.
To learn more about our athletics program, including our many student-athletes who have advanced to play in college, please visit our website.