This year’s hall of fame class embodies talent.
They have the ability to be role models for student athletes who are currently in the same situations the alumni already lived through.
I think the true benefactors of the USI Athletic Hall of Fame are current student athletes. It gives current athletes someone to look up to and aspire to achieve.
There is a distance between a student athlete admiring a professional athlete in their respective sport.
For example, if a USI basketball player looks up to Lebron James, they don’t have the ability to connect on a personal level.
They can’t call up James and ask him how they should handle the next game in the GLVC.
It isn’t probable, it isn’t practical and unless some major match matching occurs, it isn’t possible.
The same with a tennis player and Venus Williams. Williams isn’t answering a call from a college tennis player to discuss their backswing without some major hoops first.
After writing five hall of fame profiles, I found that the athletic alumni is more than willing to share their stories.
They were open and honest. They told me what the university did for them and their experiences while playing.
Now looking back on their honesty and willingness to talk, I regret that some of my questions weren’t stronger.
I believe almost any athlete would be willing to pass down wisdom to student athlete right now.
After talking to the 2016 class, I can almost guarantee they would all feel honored if an athlete approached them for advice.
While in the college-age range, everyone needs a mentor. It’s the time when life is hectic and some days it’s going to feel like everything is tumbling down.
In those moments, students need someone who has been through it, someone who overcame adversity as a college student or someone who simply had a successful four years, which some days is a struggle on its own.
This idea doesn’t just apply to athletes, but the hall of fame makes them a group with easy access to these mentor figures.
I urge all the student athletes to get to know the alumni in their sport or any sport. Some of them broke barriers for athletes today.
In instances like this, the history should excite them as much as the future.