Back in February, I wrote about playing “Spring” sports in the Winter. Baseball and softball on cloudy, dreary days when you hope the temperatures hit 45 degrees. Well, typically by early April, you hope those days are gone, but this year it seems like Spring has forgotten to show up! Our “Spring” sports continue to play games with temperatures in the 40s (if they are lucky), and we’re beginning to wonder if the seasons will be over by the time warmer temperatures arrive! The good news is that the extended forecast looks pretty good, with temperatures in the 70s next week, but we’ll see if the forecast holds true!
But I didn’t set out this morning to write about the weather. As with many of my musings, I want to talk about the student athlete experience. One of our primary objectives in King Athletics is to provide student athletes with a positive experience, one that gives them the opportunity to compete in a sport they love, to learn from talented coaches who become mentors, and then later friends, and to building lasting relationships with their fellow student athletes.
We desire for our student athletes to have an experience in athletics that complements and completes their educational experience. Their degree will be earned in the classroom – the specialized skills they need for their careers learned and refined. But these student athletes are passionate about their sport, and the opportunities presented to them through participation and competition are integral components of their college experience. At the end of the day, the value of their education comes from the classroom, but the quality of their experience comes in large part from outside the classroom.
We strive to provide our student athletes with opportunities to compete, and when possible, allow them to pursue and experience unique opportunities. This weekend, we will have two members of our women’s wrestling team competing in Panama at the Senior PanAm games. Over the past 12 months, we’ve had 7 members of our women’s wrestling team represent the United States in various international competitions. What a great opportunity, to travel abroad and represent your country!
This year, our cheerleading squad competed in two competitions, against primarily large, Division I state schools, and performed very well, defeating several of the Division I programs. These were the first competitions for our program in 3 or 4 years, so it was great to give the student athletes this opportunity. And, next year, we will launch a completely separate sport, Acrobatics and Tumbling, one of the most unique and fastest growing sports in the United States, which will provide our student athletes with more unique opportunities.
This weekend, we will host our only home Cycling races of the year. Collegiate Cycling may not be as popular as basketball, but when it comes to excitement, it’s hard to beat. On Saturday, several dozen cyclists will race short track race in a loop through downtown Bristol, with races starting throughout the day beginning at 1pm. And then Sunday, out near the Holston Dam on Route 421, cyclists will compete in races that include more hills and longer distances and stretches. These are great opportunities for our student athletes to compete in front of the home crowd, and show their stuff for family and friends.
Sunday, the softball team will honor their seniors prior to their doubleheader against Conference Carolinas opponent Coker. I’ve written before about the importance of seniors and the role they play, so I’d encourage anyone who can to head out to the softball field for this special day. First pitch is at 1:00pm, the ceremony will begin about 12:50pm.
In closing, as its apparent that Punxatawney Phil missed the call on an early Spring, let’s just hope the forecasts are right and we’ll have great weather for our student athletes, coaches, and fans this weekend!! Go Tornado!
Click here to read previous blogs by David Hicks.