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Lady Bisons help build Habitat homes

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

They are more familiar with aluminum bats than paint brushes. For some their skill in aiming a basketball at a goal is more highly developed than their ability to aim a power drill.

Ten Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball players and 11 members of the Lady Bisons basketball team reserved a Sunday to work building Habitat for Humanity houses. They were divided into groups and worked with landscaping, painting and shed construction.

“All of our coaches and the players who were healthy worked,” Lady Bisons basketball coach Frank Bennett said. “We landscaped three houses and built some sheds.

“The landscaping was a little more difficult than we anticipated. The area had been a parking lot last year. We hit a lot of gravel and concrete so it took longer than we thought it would.”

Basketball player Anna Bowers, a veteran of Habitat housing construction since her high school days, admitted the landscaping was a challenge.

“We hit concrete after digging about four inches,” Bowers said. “It was one of the more strenuous Habitat work days I have been involved with.”

Bennett said his players had a little or no expertise in landscaping.

“It’s weird when you go out there because there are all of these people without much experience or expertise, but they get the job done and it really looks nice,” Bennett said. “This is our third year to do it. It has been a good thing.”

Freshman center Jess Reece, 6-foot-3, worked on landscaping, but she discovered that her height was useful in helping to install the address numbers on the front of each house.

“They had a ladder to help us as we screwed the numbers in, but I was able to just reach up and hold the numbers with my hands,” Reece said. “We started off mulching and planting. I’m not very good at landscaping.”

Reece thinks that everyone should help out those in need, but that athletes should make every effort possible to be a part of the community.

“When I came here for my visit some of the girls told me we would do a lot of service projects,” Reece said. “I was used to that because we did a lot of stuff like that at my high school. I like working out in the community and helping.”

The players worked alongside the people who will live in the homes and all of them thought that made the experience even more special.

“It makes you want to work harder at the job,” softball player Caroline Mason said. “It is a great experience to be working with the people who are going to be living in the house. You look at them and then you think they are going to live here. That makes you want to do your job as close to perfect as possible.”

Softball player Vanessa Medina ranked herself as the best painter in her group.

“We painted the inside of a house and then we built nine sheds,” Medina said. “It was my first time to paint and my first time to use a power drill.

“The homeowners are painting with you. We were talking about the painting and realized that some kid is going to look up at the ceiling in a room and wonder where that spot came from. And it will have been from us. I was the best painter so I got the privilege of doing the corners and evening up the lines.”

Mason, whose grandfather, G.L. Waynick, is a contractor, spent most of her time caulking and received high marks from the professional carpenters overseeing the project.

“I volunteered to caulk,” Mason said. “They said they needed people to caulk the doorways, the base boards and the cracks in the wall. They told me I could be a professional caulker.”

Freshman softball player Shelby Cunningham enjoyed working with her teammates away from the playing field.

“I had never done anything like that before and it really opened my eyes,” Cunningham said. “I felt like it really brought us together a lot more.

“We aren’t just throwing balls on the field. We are getting out and doing different things.”

Cunningham also painted, but with her 5-4 height she specialized on the lower half of the walls while her teammate Ashley Anderson, 6-2, painted the upper half.

“I had painted my own room,” Cunningham said. “I had grown up using power tools working with my Dad so that wasn’t hard when we built the sheds.”

The entire softball team is going to be back at the Habitat site this Sunday for another work day.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.